Saturday, July 19, 2014

Was pennypinching behind the crash?

Very poor judgment by MAS bosses

The crashed MH17 flight took a route 300 miles to the north of its usual path, an aviation expert has said.

Robert Mark, a commercial pilot who edits Aviation International News Safety magazine, said that most Malaysia Airlines flights from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur normally travelled along a route significantly further south than the plane which crashed.

Malaysia Airlines has insisted its plane travelled on an "approved route" used by many other carriers.

But Mr Mark said: "I can only tell you as a commercial pilot myself that if we had been routed that way, with what's been going on in the Ukraine and the Russian border over the last few weeks and months, I would never have accepted that route.

"I went into the FlightAware system, which we all use these days to see where airplanes started and where they tracked, and I looked back at the last two weeks' worth of MH17 flights, which was this one.

"And the flight today tracked very, very much further north into the Ukraine than the other previous flights did ... there were MH17 versions that were 300 miles south of where this one was."

Records of recent MH17 flights on the FlightAware appear to bear out Mr Mark's claim, with earlier flights significantly further south than the flight that crashed.

Mr Mark’s intervention came amid mounting questions over why passenger jets were flying over the war zone three months after pilots were warned to avoid it.

Aviation safety authorities in America and Europe warned pilots in April about potential risks flying in or near Ukraine airspace.

Experts claimed that operators continued to fly across the zone because it was the quickest and cheapest route for some flights.

Norman Shanks, a former head of group security at the BAA airports group, said: "Malaysia Airlines, like a number of other carriers, has been continuing to use it because it is a shorter route, which means less fuel and therefore less money."

Attacks on aircraft in the area have been rife. In the past week alone two Ukrainian military aircraft were shot down and a third was damaged by a missile.


UPDATE:  More interesting info

It appears that the BUK launcher was captured from the Ukrainians, not supplied by Russia.  And there WAS a Ukrainian transport plane nearby

 Yesterday Dr Igor Sutyagin, research fellow in Russian studies at the Royal United Services Institute, said he believed MH17 was shot down by rebels based in Torez.

He added: ‘These separatists boasted on Twitter about capturing a BUK SA11 missile launcher on June 29, and several hours before the downing of the plane, locals in Torez reported seeing BUK missile launchers and separatist flags around the city.

 Dr Sutyagin also told MailOnline that information had been leaked from a source he was unwilling to name that the pilot of MH17 'felt bad' about his course over Ukranian airspace, so turned south.

Little did he know, according to Dr Sutyagin, that his plane would then be mistaken by rebels for a Ukrainian government resupply flight.

He said: 'There is a Ukrainian mechanised brigade blocked by separatists near the Russian border. It's blocked on three sides by separatists and behind the brigade is the Russian border, so they can't get out. The Ukrainians try to resupply them from the air by transport aircraft.

'Now, the pilot of MH17 said that he "felt bad" and wanted to change course to get out of the danger zone. But several kilometers to the south is a Ukrainian Army heavy transport plane, an IL76, or Candid, which has the same echo as a 777 on a radar screen.

'The two planes came close. They tried to shoot down the transport delivering supplies to the brigade. They believed that they had been firing at a military plane, but they mistakenly shoot down a civilian airliner.'


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