posted on Mar, 13 2014 @ 02:53 AM
Good theory, the one thing I can't understand is despite turning off the transponder and everything else, a ground radar would surely still pick up
the aircraft would it not ? Legitimate question there
It is possible to literally fly 'under the radar', especially while over large expanses of water. Radars send out radio waves to detect objects in
the air, but it can't see things that are too low to the ground as it has to have clear line of sight to the object its tracking. This means that
over land, a radar on one side of a large hill for example, wouldnt be able to see an object on the other side as the radio waves cant travel through
the hil. Radar is effective for tracking aircraft as they are up in the air with no obstacles between them and the radar. When it comes to tracking
over water, radar installations are often positioned on coastlines to make them most effective, but they still have blind spots at low altitute.
At sea level, even if there are no other obstacles in the way (islands etc), radars can only see so far, as the curvature of the earth means that
after so many miles the horizon drops away. Radars are also not used to look that low down anyway due to all the maritime traffic etc.
This makes it possible to make an aircraft 'disappear' from radar, although they would have to fly very low (maybe below 1000 feet, possibly lower
even that 500 ft). In order to get a 777 down that low and fly it effectively for an extended period of time, you would need a very experienced
captian and probably co pilot. I would also say they would need military flying experience to pull something like that off. So, if this is what
happened, I would absolutely expect the crew to be in on it.
Even if someone burst into the cockpit and put a gun to your head, one flick of a switch can turn the transponder to an emergency hijack code, so
without the hijacker noticing, you can start squalking an emergency code. The only way I can see this not happening is if the pilots intentionally
turned the transponder off.
The theory about depressurisation is a valid one (it happened before with an aircraft flying over Greece if I remember correctly), but as you say it
would likely have strayed into airspace where they were at least visible to radar. And unconsious pilots cant deactivate transponders.
The thing that really puzzles me is, if this was a hijacking, how would they keep all the passengers under control, as chances are they would
eventually realise what was happening and try to do something about it...