March 14, 2014

No Fly Zone

No Fly Zone

Ever since it was first reported missing last Saturday, the mystery of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 only deepens and gets more confusing.

Conflicting reports from Malaysia, China and Vietnam, as well as conflicting civilian and military findings, further confuse. What we know as of this writing is that a Boeing 777, with over 200 people on board, is nowhere to be found. No plane, no passengers, no wreckage, no oil slick, nothing. Military and civilian radar doesn’t seem to have reliably tracked the aircraft; satellite images can’t produce anything conclusive; the transponder aboard the plane was either shut off by someone on board or failed; and the plane allegedly had enough fuel to fly 2,500 miles after contact was lost. As of this moment the search area has grown to 31,000 square miles. And still no one has any clue as to where Flight 370 is.

Adding to the mystery for conspiracy theorists are photos of two Iranian men traveling with stolen passports (although Interpol has ruled them out as possible terrorists) and photos of the pilots cavorting with young women, in the cockpit, on earlier flights.

It’s incomprehensible in today’s technological environment that a plane of this size can simply vanish. It’s equally incomprehensible that pilots would possibly violate the most basic security protocol of them all by allowing anyone not authorized into a commercial aircraft cockpit. And how do travelers with stolen passports pass through airport security and board a commercial airliner any way? How is a state of the art transcontinental airliner not equipped with tamper-proof, fail-proof technology that can track the plane at all times? General Motors has figured that much out. They can locate my Chevy truck through their OnStar system any time, any day, anywhere. Boeing can’t do the same?

As more time passes, the already long odds of good news for the distraught families of the passengers and crew become tragically slimmer. Hopefully, we will eventually find out what happened, giving the families closure and the airlines industry another case study for safety engineering and disaster avoidance and management.

In the meantime, as the world waits, it looks like Malaysia Air is a no fly zone.