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As far as the pilots, you can threaten a mans family and get them to do what you need... fear is a strong motivator, especially when its not fear for self but fear for others.edit on 14-3-2014 by OpinionatedB because: (no reason given)
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...
Thousands of people were evacuated on 12 September 2001 after a bomb threat was phoned the day after the September 11 attacks destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Bomb Disposal squads found no bomb in the Petronas towers but they evacuated everyone. Workers and shoppers were allowed to return three hours later, around noon. No one was hurt during the evacuation.
Tower One is fully occupied by Petronas and a number of its subsidiaries and associate companies, while the office spaces in Tower Two are mostly available for lease to other companies. A number of companies have offices in Tower Two, including Huawei Technologies, AVEVA, Al Jazeera English, Carigali Hess, Bloomberg, Boeing, IBM, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, McKinsey & Co, TCS, HCL Technologies, Krawler, Microsoft, The Agency (a modeling company) and Reuters.
The "New Seven Sisters"
The Financial Times has used the label the "New Seven Sisters" to describe a group of what it argues are the most influential national oil and gas companies based in countries outside of the OECD. According to the Financial Times this group comprises:
China National Petroleum Corporation (China)
National Iranian Oil Company (Iran)
Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia)
Dont agree with that im afraid. The passengers will have known somethings up. If they were put in a hostage situation we'd have known by now, what kind of hijackers take a plane and then make no demands?
Plus the food on an aircraft cant feed 239 people for a week, so they would have had to have moved them from the plane, which means more chance of someone somewhere seeing something.
And what about phones/ laptops/ tablets? If they were on the ground somewhere they would get some signal so it would be likely someone would have at least managed to send something to someone. Nah, Its too implausable for me.
That is the big question, isn't it? Still, the facts seem to point more towards a deliberate abduction. If blowing up the plane was the deal, we'd have seen the results (they would have made sure), and responsibility claimed. So, they wanted something or someone (or many folks, most likely) intact. My guess is that group of technicians on board. Working on something pretty big?
Not if on some remote island in that area of the world. Plenty of them to pick from.
I think you're way over-estimating the capability of cell coverage and wifi coverage. Plenty of dead areas even in the US, let alone some remote islands.