Science

MH370 hunter in ‘surprising’ flight path find – claims it MATCHES pilot’s home simulation

express– The Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared on March 8, 2014, during a routine trip to Beijing, China, with 239 people on board. Captain Zaharie Shah last communicated with air traffic control at 1:19am while travelling over the South China Sea, before vanishing. Countless theories have been put forward to explain the enigma, but analysis of the jet’s automated communications with an Inmarsat satellite indicates it likely crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

But now, engineer Richard Godfrey claims he has made a major breakthrough after tracking the Boeing 777’s flight path using a computer programme known as WSPRnet.

He claims new data shows the plane was put into a holding pattern for around 22 minutes near the coastline of Sumatra, an Indonesian island.

He said: “What I found out, without looking for it, was that MH370 entered a race track holding pattern at around 19:12 UTC.

“I was surprised to discover that not only did MH370 enter a holding pattern but that the holding pattern lasted for around 22 minutes.

“On entering the holding pattern MH370 was 150nm [nautical miles] from the coast of Sumatra [Indonesia] and 40nm from the 2nd Arc.

“If the pilot’s goal was to make MH370 disappear without a trace, then why waste fuel with a holding pattern and why not head directly to the most remote area possible of the Indian Ocean without deviation?”

It could put a dent in the theories that the plane was hijacked or suffered an on board emergency.

Captain Zaharie Shah has previously come under scrutiny over the years amid claims he went on a suicide mission and took his passengers with him.

This was fuelled when Australian officials confirmed in 2016 Mr Shah had practised a route where the plane is said to have run “to the point of fuel exhaustion”.

Mr Godfrey claimed his new flight path would be very similar to one of these simulations.

Mr Godfrey added: “The analysis by Victor Iannello and Yves Guillaume of the flight simulator data found on Zaharie Shah’s extensive home flight computer set up is a smoking gun.

“Zaharie Shah simulated a single flight from Kuala Lumpur via the Malacca Strait [next to the Indonesian island of Sumatra] to the point of fuel exhaustion in the southern Indian Ocean.”

However, there is one glaring issue.

Mr Shah’s simulations never ended up with the plane at the bottom of the ocean.

Instead, Mr Shah could have simply been preparing for an emergency landing should trouble strike at one of the most remote parts of the world.

An unnamed source previously told Malaysian newspaper Berita Harian: “The simulation programmes are based on runways at the Valana International Airport in the Maldives, an airport owned by the United States (Diego Garcia), and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, all have runway lengths of 1,000 metres.”

And The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) previously ruled out the simulation as insignificant to the search.

A spokesman said: “The simulator information shows only the possibility of planning.

“It does not reveal what happened on the night of its disappearance nor where the aircraft is located.

“For the purposes of defining the underwater search area, the relevant facts and analysis most closely match a scenario in which there was no pilot intervening in the latter stages of the flight.”

Since 2014, 33 pieces of debris have been found in six countries – including South Africa and Madagascar – which experts believe proves the plane plunged into the Indian Ocean.

The last full-scale search for MH370 in 2018 by robotics company Ocean Infinity – using unmanned underwater vehicles – covered nearly 50,000 square miles yet nothing was recovered.

Mr Godfrey is now using a Weak Signal Propagation Reporter (WSPR) to try and locate the final resting place of the plane/.

WSPR is a grid of radio signals which covers the globe allowing planes to be tracked as they set off invisible “digital tripwires” which reveal their position.

Extensive trials of new technology tracking historical data of radio signals bumping off planes have led experts to believe it could hone in on a more specific underwater search area.

Mr Godfrey compares the technology – set up in 2009 – to a web of invisible detectors that record movement amongst the clouds.

He told The Times: “Imagine crossing a prairie with invisible tripwires crossing the whole area and going back and forth across the length and breadth.

“Each step you make you tread on particular tripwires and we can locate you at the intersection of the disturbed tripwires. We can track your path as you move across the prairie.”

After the news of the successful WSPR trials, the Ocean Infinity team have revealed they are open to resuming another search.

They said: “We are always interested in resuming the search whether as a result of new information or new technology.”

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