Malaysia

Possible MH370 ditched into the ocean intact, say aviation experts

Aviation experts believe it's possible, if conditions were right, for a Boeing 777 to ditch intact into the ocean. – March 31, 2014.Aviation experts believe it's possible, if conditions were right, for a Boeing 777 to ditch intact into the ocean. – March 31, 2014.As the search for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 entered its fourth week, two aviation experts told CNN there is a possibility the plane ditched into the ocean intact leaving little debris.

In an interview with the network's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, aviation analyst Miles O'Brien said there was a possibility that the plane could have gone into the water almost intact, but it would depend on several factors.

"It depends on who is flying. Is it on autopilot or was a human being manning it?

"If it's the autopilot, and it's been set for a specific speed and altitude, the autopilot will try desperately to maintain both as long as it can even as the engines run dry," he added.

When this happens, O'Brien revealed, the nose of the aircraft would start to pitch to about 40 degrees upward, which would put the plane in an unfavourable position.

"So when the autopilot gives up, and from what we've seen in the simulators, the aircraft goes down tail first," the expert said.

"The airplane could glide down and in essence you can perform a ditching."

However, whether or not it was done in darkness or daylight, would also determine if the plane ditched intact.

"It's pretty hard to ditch in the water at night. I am not exactly sure at that time - after that much flying - if there were daylight or darkness ... that would be a key thing," he added.

Centre for Ocean Engineering, Science and Technology director Alexander Babanin said: "I don't see why not, if the plane made an attempt to land rather than crash, it's certainly a possibility."

This comes after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a week ago that flight MH370 had ended in the southern Indian Ocean after information from satellite data showed its last transmission there.

However, no debris from the plane has been been found since it disappeared off the radar on March 8, just after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, with 239 passengers and crew, bound for Beijing.

Najib had earlier said that the plane had made a turn back off its scheduled course and flew over Peninsula Malaysia before flying on for hours towards the southern Indian Ocean.

Questions have been raised over the fact that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) had not intercepted MH370 when it was detected on military radar flying in Malaysian air space on March 8.

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri told Parliament that the RMAF had detected the plane, but as it was a non-hostile aircraft, they had assumed that it was under instructions from the control tower located in Subang, but later retracted his statement, citing it inaccurate.

In the interview with CNN, O'Brien said Malaysia was reluctant to talk about why the military had not raised an alarm as it might highlight the "exploitable holes" to the world.

"Perhaps the lack of responsiveness in their air defence, so that's probably why we're not getting much on that front right now, which is unfortunate," he added. – March 31, 2014.

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