Heading for the Nearest Airport

by Dave Schuler on March 19, 2014

In my experience in life the simplest explanation for something that doesn’t require alien abduction, divine intervention, or a huge conspiracy that would be impossible to keep secret (but somehow is) is frequently the best. Experienced pilot Chris Goodfellow offers an explanation for why the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 should be sought between its last known location and Pulau Langkawi.

Update

Jeff Wise argues against Goodfellow’s theory:

Goodfellow’s theory fails further when one remembers the electronic ping detected by the Inmarsat satellite at 8:11 on the morning of March 8. According to analysis provided by the Malaysian and United States governments, the pings narrowed the location of MH370 at that moment to one of two arcs, one in Central Asia and the other in the southern Indian Ocean. As MH370 flew from its original course toward Langkawi, it was headed toward neither. Without human intervention—which would go against Goodfellow’s theory—it simply could not have reached the position we know it attained at 8:11 a.m.

To make a good theory, Einstein is said to have asserted, “everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Unfortunately, Christopher Goodfellow’s wildly popular theory errs on the side of too much elegance.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

TastyBits March 19, 2014 at 11:39 am

I doubt that all of what is being reported is correct. None of the theories fit all the data being reported – except maybe space aliens.

jan March 19, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I agree with Tasty in that we are probably only being partially informed by the government. Also, the data already given over is out of context from any sense of timeliness, and oftentimes is confusing and conflicting with what other governments are reporting.

I would add another feature that may dispute Goodfellow’s explanation, in that the two emergency landing sensors – one detecting a hard landing on land, the other precipitated by salt in an ocean crash — are said not to have been activated, which, in theory, means the plane hasn’t crashed.

TastyBits March 19, 2014 at 12:36 pm

@jan

I suspect they are trying to hide how little they know. Their equipment is probably nowhere near as good as ours, and especially for the military hardware, nobody wants to advertise that they cannot detect a huge commercial airplane.

I also believe that a lot of the data is being teased out of noise. Was this really a ping, or was this kinda, sorta, almost, maybe a ping?

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