by Anura Guruge
Having spent so much of my life on them since I was 3 years old, I have a strong affinity (and love for) planes — or airplanes as I still sometime call them harking back to my youth. One of my first distinct memories of my life was that of boarding a plane, in Colombo, Ceylon, when I was 3 years old to fly to India. I rationalized that we had to fly because India was on a higher plane than Ceylon! What can I say. It was a radical departure from the ‘flat earth’ view. In my mind the world was tiered — and you had to take a plane to go from one level to another. Flew at least once a year for the next 10 years in and around Ceylon. Then the week ahead of my 14th birthday I flew from Ceylon to New York — all on Boeing 707s (a plane that still makes my heart skip a bit because I think it is the most elegant aircraft ever designed). The next year, while I was still 14, I flew on my own for the first time, from Albany to Buffalo, New York. It was a precursor to what would be my life — pretty soon. By the time I was 16 I was flying, on my own, at least once, sometimes twice, back and forth between the U.K. and Asia. I was flying, New Delhi to London, on September 6, 1970, the day that 4 airlines were hijacked. At Athens airport I was unexpectedly and very brusquely frisked on the runway. My first experience of airline security — which did NOT exist prior to that. I had just turned 17. During 1985 to 1986 and then between 1992 and 1999, I spent half of my life on planes (flying mainly first class) or at airports. I thought ‘red eyes’ were invented just for me. During those days I slept more on planes than I did at home. So, bottom line, planes are important to me. I have lots of planes (and trains) in my office and IF I look up from my monitors I have two posters, right above eye level, one of a TWA 707 and the other of a TWA Super Constellation. So, this is why plane crashes intrigue me. They are ‘close to home’. And yes, I was going to be an aeronautical engineer (before I was told about computers) and as a teenager I used to visit active plane crash sites if I could get there by car.
So given the above preamble as to why plane crashes intrigue me, these are some of the issues and thoughts that have crossed my (overactive) mind since I heard about the disappearance of MH370.
1/ I know this might sound weird, but it does sometime cross my mind that this plane was diverted and landed, safely, in some remote airport in China! A plane hijacking not for political reasons but for commercial gain. The plane equivalent of carjacking. Hey, come on, it is as valid as any of the other theories.
2/ I do not believe for a second that the U.S. does not have satellites that continually monitor this part of the world. Come on?
3/ Planes have multiple transponders. They can’t all have gone dead. Air Traffic Control can even track a plane when the transponders are turned off.
4/ Even if we forget the transponders, there has to be GPS devices on board that can be tracked, even under water (I hope). IF they can track my phone via GPS, wouldn’t there have been at least 200 smartphones on this plane.
5/ I just saw a news item that one of the two stolen passports, one from Italy and the other from Austria, was used by a black guy! Though Asian myself, I will readily concede that most Asians can be rather gullible. A black guy with an Austrian passport. Of course, it is possible, but that had to have raised at least an ‘orange flag’. Yes, I know Italy has a few more Africans, but yet again I will contend (just on gut feel) that less that 1% of Italian passport holders are non-white. (Israelis, at Tel Aviv airport, in August 1992, gave me heck that I, a brown guy, was travelling on a British passport, though Britain, with its imperial past, is KNOWN for its large population of non-white citizens.) Links to the black guy, looks like ‘soccer player Balotelli‘ references: link 1 & link 2.
>> How did this ‘black guy’ turn out to be Iranian?
Check this post. <<
6/ In the last 24 hours they keep on talking about the possibility that the plane might have turned around to head back to Kuala Lumpur. While that might be possible that a pilot did that without contacting the airline, through the dedicated radio frequencies they have back to base, seems very strange — unless the pilot was being prevented from talking (and even then, I know, that they have ‘hidden’ alarm buttons (like they do in banks)).
So these are BUT some of the things that puzzle me as I monitor the news. This is very strange.