This is an excellent workup of the hijacking scenario which I view as the minority solution to the ongoing puzzle. A developing fire works far better to deal with the data we have. It is also becoming plausible that the craft did not spend long hours in the air after such a catastrophic event began.
Yet we still have a plausible scenario here that also fits our data or perhaps our lack of data.
I do not see any obvious way to combine both scenarios easily either as a mere suicide makes this way to much effort and trouble fraught with difficulties.
Near-conclusive evidence that Malaysia Airlines MH370 was hijacked: cockpit tampering deliberately hid plane from radar
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Immediately after the aircraft was hijacked, the persons(s) in control of the flight deck powered down the aircraft's transponder which "squawks" location and altitude details to air traffic controllers. Boeing 777 aircraft electrical systems can be independently powered down or restarted from the flight deck, as long as the person knows what they're doing.
This effort to power down the transponder caused a power outage of the plane's connection with a satellite, requiring that connection to be renegotiated to establish a new "handshake." It is this highly unusual request for a new satellite handshake that raised a red flag in the minds of investigators: aircraft don't normally make such handshake requests unless recovering from a power outage (i.e. the rebooting of electrical subsystems).
"An analysis was performed which determined that the characteristics and timing of the logon requests were best matched as resulting from power interruption," declared a report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (similar to the NTSB in the United States). (1)
How transponders and squawk codes workWhen aircraft clear departure at a large airport, the departure controllers give them a "squawk" code to enter into their transponders. Squawk codes are 4-digit codes such as 0251.
Once the pilot enters this code into their transponder, Air Traffic Control (ATC) sees that squawk code number assigned to that plane's icon on their radar screen. Heading and altitude information will also be shown next to the squawk code.
Here's a typical ATC radar screen for a busy airport (Boston, in this case) showing aircraft ident information, squawk codes, altitude and ground speed:
A commercial airline pilot would never voluntarily turn off their transponder. Flying without a transponder not only makes you invisible to ATC, it also makes you invisible to other nearby planes which can hit you mid-air, especially when flying in or out of busy airport traffic patterns. As a bonus, it also gets your commercial pilot's license yanked by the FAA or other aviation authorities. Switching off a transponder puts all the lives of the crew and passengers at risk.
The fact that the MH370 transponder was switched off almost certainly means the airplane was hijacked by someone who knew how to hide the plane from radar. The plane was then flown for many hours afterward, according to satellite signals. This also means there was a deliberate attempt to transport the plane to another location, not to dump it in the ocean as is thoughtlessly suggested by mainstream media. (Nobody goes to the trouble of hiding a plane from ATC radar and flying it for seven hours just to dump it in the ocean.)
The fact that the transponder was powered off also means the hijacker(s) were very technically educated about aircraft and transponders. They knew how to disable the electrical subsystem, in other words. That takes specialized knowledge that "ordinary" hijackers wouldn't know.
Yet more proof of the hijacking: emergency squawk codes were not usedWant even more proof that the plane was hijacked and didn't just suffer a radio communications failure of some kind?
All commercial airline pilots are taught to memorize so-called emergency squawk codes. These include:
7500 Hijack in progress
7600 Communications failure
7700 In-flight emergency
7777 Military intercept
Had this plane suffered a com failure that took out its radios, the pilot would have simply squawked 7600 and ATC would have known the com units had failed, but the plane could still be flown.
Had the plane been hijacked by an "ordinary" hijacker with little aviation knowledge, the pilot could have covertly entered a squawk code of 7500, indicating a hijacking. This only requires entering the four digits on a small keypad typically located near the Primary Function Display (PDF).
Here's what the cockpit instrumentation of a typical Boeing 777 looks like:
Photo courtesy of www.airliners.net
As you can see from the instrumentation, the Pilot In Command (who sits on the left) has all the primary instruments needed to fly a plane: combination attitude and pitch display, airspeed indicator, altitude indicator, avionics and com units, flaps controls, engine thrusters and so on. On the very bottom left of this picture, you can also see a keypad where pilots enter numerical squawk codes. The alpha characters (A-Z) can also be used to enter navigation waypoints or airport call letters.
A pilot in distress could easily and covertly punch "7500" into this keyboard without alerting an ordinary hijacker.
But in the case of MH370, however, the transponder was electrically disabled on purpose, and the evidence of the satellite "handshake" reboot is near-conclusive proof of this.
Yes, planes can fly without all electrical systemsThe general public has great difficulty understanding the technical aspects of this story because most people don't realize that airplanes don't need all their electrical systems functioning to stay aloft.
Boeing aircraft in particular can fly very effectively even with a surprising number of electrical failures, including primary display failures, communications failure, primary battery failures and more. So it is quite feasible for a Boeing 777 to continue flying for many hours even with the majority of its electrical systems disabled. This is something that mainstream media journalists don't seem to understand because they usually have no experience flying airplanes. I'm not saying that makes them bad people -- after all, most people have never piloted aircraft -- but they shouldn't publish conclusions about topics on which they are completely uneducated.
And yes, you probably figured out by inference that I have piloted aircraft. As proof that only other aviators will understand, I can attest that the in-flight stall indicator is the screaming sound emitting by your passengers when you forget to pay attention to your airspeed. Furthermore, aircraft "magnetos" are tiny X-Men superheroes who live in the instrument dash panel and have the mental power to rapidly cycle the metal pistons in your engine that keep your propeller turning (and thus keep you airborne, duh!). That's why your RPMs drop when you turn off one magneto at a time -- it disrupts their mutant powers and slows the engine.
Finally, "Elevator controls" are the buttons in the elevators of the run-down hotels you have to stay in when your aircraft has been grounded by the FAA in a surprise ramp check, just 0.7 hours after you missed your annual inspection. And the best way to get the control tower's attention when you want to land your private plane in a hurry is to declare, "TOWER, THIS IS 452 WHISKY TANGO, WE ARE INBOUND ON ONE ENGINE, REQUESTING PRIORITY CLEARANCE." The FAA loves that and will likely reward you in ways you can't even imagine.