Wonderful Engineering

10 Facts They Didn’t Tell You About Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

It has been almost a week since Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared. Yesterday, we covered why the airplane search is taking so long. Since then, there have been more questions than answers. The flight that went missing with 239 passengers and crew members on board hasn’t left a trace before vanishing completely, leaving investigators searching in the dark. Amongst all the mystery, there are some things that people may not know yet about the disappearance of flight MH370.

1. Some Passengers Did Not Board The Plane

The Malaysian government is currently investigating the fact that five passengers who were booked for the flight did not get on the plane. They checked in but did not board the plane and their luggage was removed beforehand.

2. Search Teams Were Looking In The Wrong Place For Five Days

As shown in the map below, the plane was last tracked at the Strait of Malacca between the Indonesian and Malaysian coasts. The plane turned around near Vietnam when it’s transponder stopped working and headed hundreds of miles away from its original flight path. Search teams had been searching the place where the plane’s transponder stopped working instead of near the Strait of Malacca.

3. All Boeing 777 Commercial Jets Are Equipped With Explosion-Proof Black Box Recorders And Can Transmit Location Data For 30 Days.

These black boxes are designed to withstand any explosion from the plane itself. The bomb-proof structures hold digital recordings of the conversations in the cockpit and also detailed flight data and control surface data.

The reason why investigators are having such a hard time finding the aircraft is because they cannot pick up any signal from its black box recorder. Usually, homing in on the signal leads to the plane itself, but the absence of any signal means that the black box, a device meant to withstand explosions, has vanished, malfunctioned or been destroyed by some unfathomable power.

4. The Passengers’ Phones Are Still Ringing, Even Now

Many of the loved ones of the 239 people on board the Boeing 777 have been calling them since the plane disappeared on Saturday. They have heard the phones ringing, but no one has answered.

5. There Are Parts of Aircraft That Are Buoyant And Naturally Float On Water

In past cases when a plane crashes into the sea, many parts of the plane are found floating on the surface because they are buoyant. No such debris has been found yet, which has baffled search and rescue teams even more. Even if there was an explosion on board while the plane was in mid air, the debris would have fallen over a much greater area and more easily spotted.

6. The Location Of Where The Plane Disappeared Is Not Unknown

Air traffic controllers have experience with aircraft accidents and they have the location data of the plane just before it disappears. The location, elevation and airspeed are all known and can be used to locate where the debris of the plane could have landed in the event of an explosion. Despite all the data, officials are still unable to locate the missing aircraft.

7. If The Plane Was Hijacked, It Would Not Have Vanished

Many people believe that malice is involved in the disappearance of flight MH370. But if a plane were hijacked by terrorists, it could not vanish from radar. Even if they disabled the transponder on board the plane, ground control could still easily locate the plane using the “passive” radars which sends a signal and measures its reflection (Doppler effect) to find where the plane is.

8. If A Missile Had Destroyed The Airplane, It Would Have Shown Up On Radar

There are theories going around that say the commercial airliner was shot down by a missile. The problem with this theory is that the debris generated from a missile strike would have easily been detected by naval ship radars and air traffic authorities. The only way a missile strike would have gone undetected was if it blew everything up into small undetectable pieces and there is no known missile with such destructive capabilities.

9. The aircraft deviated from its flight path and was picked up by a military radar a few hours later.


New data reveals that the aircraft changed its planned course and took a u-turn towards Andaman Islands. This theory was confirmed by a malaysian military radar that picked up the airplane hours after it lost contact with air traffic control.

10. The plane could have flown as far as India Or Pakistan


New evidence reveals that the aircraft kept flying for 5 hours after it lost contact with the air traffic control. Plotting the aircraft fly time of 5 hours, the aircraft could have ended up in India or border areas of Pakistan.