Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Update: Did The Plane Drop Below 5,000 Feet To Go Undetected By Radar?

Remember that whole plane disappearing and no one knowing where it went thing? Yeah, that is still happening, and it gets even weirder by the day. Investigators are now saying that the plane dropped below 5,000 feet and blew radar after breaking off its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route. Via New Straits Times:

MAS Airlines flight MH370 dropped to an altitude of 5,000 feet, or possibly lower, to defeat commercial (secondary) radar coverage after it turned back from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route on March 8.

Investigators are poring over the Boeing 777-200ER’s flight profile to determine if it had flown low and used “terrain masking” during most of the eight hours it was missing from the radar coverage of possibly at least three countries.

Top officials, who make up the technical team that had been holed up from morning till late at night here, are looking at the possibility that the jetliner, carrying 239 people, had taken advantage of the busy airways over the Bay of Bengal. By sticking to commercial routes, the flight may not have raised the suspicion of those manning primary (military) radars of the nations it overflew. To them, MH370 would appear to be just another commercial aircraft on its way to its destination.

Can this story get any stranger? If it goes on any longer, Ancient Aliens will have it’s own episode dedicated to it. Explain to me this whole flying under 5,000 feet thing.

This technique is called terrain masking and is used by military pilots to fly to their targets stealthily, using the topography to mask their approach from prying microwaves. This type of flying is considered very dangerous, especially in low-light conditions and spatial disorientation, and airsickness could easily set in. The stresses and loads it puts on the airframe, especially an airliner of the 777’s size, are tremendous.

“While the ongoing search is divided into two massive areas, the data that the investigating team is collating is leading us more towards the north,” sources said.

So many things are coming together that tell me that this plane landed. At the same time, I feel like an idiot thinking that the plane did indeed land, but who cares, because that may give hope that there is survivors.

Investigators are also factoring in the extra fuel the aircraft would have burnt in the denser lower air if it had flown “down on the deck” for sustained periods. Pilots agree that MH370 would lose up to about two hours of fuel. Any erratic manoeuvres would have also eaten into the jet’s fuel reserves.

“Going by the hijacking theory, assuming it had landed, where would one hide a Boeing 777?” one said.

Where would one hide it? SERIOUSLY, WHERE IS IT?!

Why can’t I quit you, LOST? Your terrible ending bleeds into my daily life. I can’t go to the zoo and see Polar bears and not think about you.

Via New Straits Times