New Details from the Unusual Plane Crash

A plane from China Eastern Airlines recently did a nosedive into a mountain range leaving no survivors. Evidence so far doesn’t point to a technical problem but rather it might have been shot out of the air. Pilot suicide is also possible. It was high velocity. It might have approached going at the speed of sound. Even a total loss of power doesn’t result in aircraft that plummets to the ground like that.

The plane dropped out of the air

Bloomberg reported that, “The Boeing 737-800 was knifing through the air at more than 640 miles (966 kilometers) per hour, and at times may have exceeded 700 mph. Sound travels at 761 mph at sea level but slows with altitude as air temperature goes down and is about 663 mph at 35,000 feet.”

Flightradar24 showed the plane was at 29,000 feet and plunged over 20,000 feet in under a minute before slamming into mountains in southern China. That Flightradar24 was able to collect information from the flight at all indicates “the aircraft had electrical power and was able to broadcast tracking telemetry.”

Minor plane recovery

But it wasn’t enough. The South China Morning Post noted there was a brief recovery before the crash. Bob Mann is the president of R.W. Mann and Co. consultancy, an airline industry analyst firm. He said, “It was an exceedingly high-energy crash. It looks like it literally evaporated into a crater. Do the flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder or quick access recorder — do any survive? I just don’t know the answer.”

Investigators are still trying to find the boxes that contain the flight recordings and voice data. Zhu Tao is the director of aviation safety at the Civil Aviation Administration of China. He mentioned, “The aircraft was severely damaged in this accident, and the investigation is very difficult. With the information currently available, it is still impossible to make a clear judgment on the cause of the accident.”

The Times stated

Mr. Zhu confirmed a few details about the trajectory of the plane that had emerged in flight data shared by Flightradar24, a tracking platform, while also describing for the first time how air traffic controllers had tried to contact the plane when they noticed something amiss.

The plane been cruising at about 29,000 feet around 2:17 p.m. on Monday, he said, but a few minutes later, air traffic controllers had noticed that the plane had suddenly lost altitude. He said the controllers immediately called the plane crew, but did not receive a reply after several attempts. By 2:23 p.m., the plane’s radar signal disappeared, he said, and it had crashed.

Other plane analysis

Mike Daniel, a former Federal Aviation Administration accident investigator, commented that “It really catches your eye when you see how rapidly the aircraft went from this horizontal flight. On any given investigation, you can’t rule out foul play at the very beginning. It was so abrupt that everything needs to be looked at.”

The Australian Aviation expert Neil Hansford’s analysis takes a different direction.

“Even with total loss of power, no aircraft plummets to the ground from 20,000 feet in two minutes with an event at 8,000 feet. I think aircraft technical failure can be ruled out and it will be an external event … I would get on a Boeing 737-800 in an instant with an Australian carrier, so my suggestion would be it won’t be Boeing or aircraft technical related.”

“It is very unlikely the pilot passed out as the non-flying pilot would have been able to very safely take over the flying and land the aircraft. Likely scenarios include pilot suicide, aircraft mid-air collision with military aircraft (they don’t have transponders like civil aircraft), [flight MU5735] was struck by a missile or an on-board explosion. My tipping is a human-induced event or bought down by rogue missile. Debris looks like MH117 over Ukraine, and the Chinese are providing too much information this time which is uncharacteristic.”

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