How MH370 and MH17 changed the way we think about air travel

Thirty-three Australians were tragically killed in two air disasters which shrouded 2014 and the years which have followed in sadness, anger and frustration.

Both incidents, which left a total of 537 passengers dead, forever seared the flight code of Malaysia Airlines into the consciousness of Australians.

What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, or MH370, remains perhaps the greatest mystery of aviation and the subject of intense speculation.

Of the 227 passengers, six were Australians. On the morning of March 8, they boarded the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and expected to step off in Beijing, China. The plane never arrived, and the search for the missing jet became the most costly in aviation history. The most likely scenario involved someone in the cockpit of Flight 370, probably Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, re-programming the aircraft's autopilot to travel south across the Indian Ocean.

The downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17, just four months later, appeared far more clear cut. All 283 passengers and 15 crew were killed, including 27 Australians.

A total of 33 Australians were needlessly killed in two air disasters in quick succession.

In the MH17 disaster, the lives of Perth parents Anthony Maslin and Marite "Rin" Norris were ripped apart in the most devastating way.

They lost their three children – Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis, 8 – and Ms Norris' father, Anthony, when the jet was shot down. Their three children had been returning home to Perth for school, while they had stayed behind in Amsterdam.

Why it matters?

A nation of great travellers, Australians want to feel safe as we journey abroad. But there were also broader implications in both stories.

MH17 threw the spotlight on Moscow's intervention in the Ukraine and its likely hand in the disaster, despite denials.

What happened in the cockpit of MH370 continues to intrigue. A picture began to emerge of Captain Zaharie's mental health. Had Malaysia Airlines done enough not only to support a troubled pilot, but also spot the warning signs of an employee struggling with mental illness?

Malaysia Airlines came under intense pressure over its investigation. The carrier and Malaysian government were accused by families of MH370 victims of obscuring the truth. When disasters strike, people need and expect clarity from leaders and those in power.

What has changed?

Family members of victims are pushing for international law changes which will oblige countries embroiled in civil wars to close their airspace.

In the modern age, it was unthinkable a plane like MH370 could simply disappear. In 2016, a new aviation standard meant all aircraft over open ocean report their position every 15 minutes. The 30-day battery life of a plane's underwater locator beacons has also been increased to 90 days, beginning 2020.

Hit with two devastating disasters, Malaysia Airlines renationalized on 1 September 2015, in an attempt to avoid financial uncertainty. Meanwhile, families of the victims of MH370 and MH17 are still fighting for compensation in civil suits.

Flight MH370 mystery may never be solved

Flight MH370 mystery may never be solved 'because of crucial lost 18 minutes'

The Malaysian Airlines jet, which was carrying 239 passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared from radar just seconds after entered into Vietnamese airspace.

The mystery of doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may never be solved as it lost contact with air traffic controllers during a crucial 18 minute window, according to reports.

Crucially, this was missed by ground crew in Malaysia who had a busy schedule at the time the jet vanished.

When the team in Kuala Lumpur finally noticed the Boeing 777's disappearance, they presumed it had been taken over by air traffic controllers in Ho Chi Minh, the Atlantic reports.

The Vietnamese team had noticed the jet on their monitors and then saw it vanish - but crucially - it is believed they failed to report the issue to their Malaysian counterparts.

A full 18 minutes passed before ground crew in Kuala Lumpur became aware one of their jets had vanished.

The Malaysian Aviation Safety Network (ASN) is certain that the aircraft was captured mid-flight.

Evidence is mounting that the crash, which has become of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time, was a murder-suicide.

New flight data suggests "some abnormal turns [were] made by the 777 [that] can only be done manually."

French investigators claim captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a troubled, lonely man who deliberately killed all passengers and crew on board the flight.

But it will take around "a year" to go through all of the information received from Boeing, sources said in July.

A source, who is 'close to the investigation' said: "Some abnormal turns made by the 777 can only be done manually. So someone was at the helm.

"But nothing is credited that anyone else could have entered the cockpit."

The informant told Le Parisien the new development amid France's judicial inquiry into the crash. It is the only country to conduct one as of yet.

Data analysis indicates the Boeing 777-200ER flew over the Indian Ocean until it ran out of fuel and violently slammed into the water with 239 people on board.

It is suspected the plane's passenger cabin was deliberately depressurised by Shah to kill everyone on board hours before the crash.

Before doing so, he could have put on an oxygen mask in the cockpit so he could continue to fly the aircraft for hours.

At around the same time the cabin was depressurised the electrical system was deliberately turned off, making the plane impossible to track by satellite.

An FBI inspection of Shah's Microsoft flight simulator at home showed he had tested a flight roughly matching the path of MH370, ending in the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel.

His voice was heard in the final radio communication less than two minutes before the plane began to divert from its flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

One of his lifelong friends told the Atlantic that he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that Shah deliberately crashed the plane, given the evidence amassed by independent investigators.

The friend, who wasn't named, said: “It’s hard to reconcile with the man I knew. But it’s the necessary conclusion.”

The friend said Shah likely tricked his inexperienced 27-year-old co-pilot, Fariq Hamid, who was on his final training flight, into leaving the cockpit and locked him out.

He said: “Zaharie was an examiner. All he had to say was ‘Go check something in the cabin', and the guy would have been gone.”

Shah's friend doesn't know why the pilot would do such a thing, but thought it might be down to the captain's emotional state.

He added: “Zaharie’s marriage was bad. In the past he slept with some of the flight attendants. And so what? We all do. You’re flying all over the world with these beautiful girls in the back. But his wife knew.”

People who spoke to the Atlantic described Shah, the father of adult children, as lonely and sad.

By David Coleman

Flight MH17 disaster no secret anymore

Malaysia wants the world to stop bringing unfounded accusations against Russia about the crash of Flight MH17 passenger aircraft over the Donbass. Will we ever know the truth about the investigation? Is the West going to reveal objective data about the tragedy?

Pravda.Ru editor-in-chief Inna Novikova asked these and other questions to Russian political scientist, teacher, expert of the Higher School of Economics Andrei Suzdaltsev.

http://www.pravdareport.com/world/142655-mh17/

"It appears that the West is not going to give up on the topic of prompt nuclear stroke. Do you think that they still want to destroy Russia?"

"They cherishing this dream in the West since the times of the USSR. Now they suffer from another exacerbation of this disease. There are many of those in the world who dream of possessing nuclear arms. This is a big dream for President of Belaurs Alexander Lukashenko, let alone Ukraine. Yet, they can only dream about it. Even if they can technically build nuclear arms, they will not be allowed to. The crisis between Russia and Ukraine would thus be even more horrifying than the crisis between Pakistan and India."

"They haven't been bringing the topic of the crash of the Malaysian Boeing much lately. The Joint Investigation Team is not investigating anything - they try to fabricate facts by choosing the ones that they need. The work of the JIT is purely political. However, we can see Malaysia acting more decisive now. The Malaysian administration has repeatedly expressed its protests about the work of the JIT. Malaysia demands the West should stop presenting evidence-free accusations against Russia. Do you think they are ever going to find and announce the real perpetrators?"

"This is out of the question. They will never admit."

"Never? Not even in 50 years?"

"They will never announce. Russia has made many mistakes here too. We were
 looking guilty, we started looking for excuses."

"No, we held the press conference and provided objective data."

"We've had a few versions too. Russia should have conducted its own detailed investigation to dot all i's clearly. There was a military aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force there. Most likely, the missile was launched from the Buk missile system.  There are two things that confuse me about this case. First off, the West promised us to conduct a full and open investigation into the tragedy. The Americans promised to show images made by the satellite that was flying above the area where the tragedy took place. Yet, the investigation is still secret, and the Americans have never shown anything either.

"Secondly, I do not understand why there was no fly zone established over the Donbass. There were hostilities there, planes had been shot down there too. One may accept the fact that the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters. Missiles do not reach such altitudes, especially the missiles that could be found in the conflict zone. However, shortly before the tragedy, flight control officers ordered the Malaysian aircraft to descend?! What was that? The Buk missile system can operate within the range of 60 kilometres around and at an altitude of up to six kilometers. The control room is located in Dnepropetrovsk.

"So they had to take the airliner down to 6,000 meters to make it fly right above the little circle of 60 kilometers. This is what the passenger aircraft did as pilots were following instructions from Ukrainian flight control officers."

"A flight controller ordered the plane to drift off the course. This officer then went on vacation and vanished."

"They wanted the airplane to be in the line of the Buk missile. The officer was indeed gone, there is no information about him, but the Dutch do not say a word about it. Even if there was a Buk system in the area, they were supposed to make the passenger aircraft approach the destructive zone. It was Ukrainian flight control officers, who did that, but there is no information about it. Malaysian experts confirmed that the recordings of the dialogues of insurgents were fake. They forgot about another version that was voiced in 2014. The version is about Putin's aircraft that was flying to Moscow above Europe. They were looking for Putin's plane, but they did not know exactly where its route was. If they had found it, they would have shot the plane down."

That is what they write in Russia. Sometimes it really looks like the West presents evidence-free accusations. But what is YOUR opinion about that?