Episode 357:

The Big Exhale

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370




Episode 357: The Big Exhale

On this week’s episode, Georgia tells Karen about the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by James Donaldson on Unsplash 

Other Image Source: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 (Sergio Brunetti / Alamy)

"At 12:42 a.m. on the quiet, moonlit night of March 8, 2014, a Boeing 777-200ER operated by Malaysia Airlines took off from Kuala Lumpur and turned toward Beijing, climbing to its assigned cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. The designator for Malaysia Airlines is MH. The flight number was 370. Fariq Hamid, the first officer, was flying the airplane. He was 27 years old. This was a training flight for him, the last one; he would soon be fully certified. His trainer was the pilot in command, a man named Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who at 53 was one of the most senior captains at Malaysia Airlines. In Malaysian style, he was known by his first name, Zaharie. He was married and had three adult children. He lived in a gated development. He owned two houses. In his first house he had installed an elaborate Microsoft flight simulator. He flew it frequently, and often posted to online forums about his hobby. In the cockpit, Fariq would have been deferential to him, but Zaharie was not known for being overbearing.

In the cabin were 10 flight attendants, all of them Malaysian. They had 227 passengers to care for, including five children. Most of the passengers were Chinese; of the rest, 38 were Malaysian, and in descending order the others came from Indonesia, Australia, India, France, the United States, Iran, Ukraine, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Russia, and Taiwan. Up in the cockpit that night, while First Officer Fariq flew the airplane, Captain Zaharie handled the radios. The arrangement was standard. Zaharie’s transmissions were a bit unusual. At 1:01 a.m. he radioed that they had leveled off at 35,000 feet—a superfluous report in radar-surveilled airspace where the norm is to report leaving an altitude, not arriving at one. At 1:08 the flight crossed the Malaysian coastline and set out across the South China Sea in the direction of Vietnam. Zaharie again reported the plane’s level at 35,000 feet.

Eleven minutes later, as the airplane closed in on a waypoint near the start of Vietnamese air-traffic jurisdiction, the controller at Kuala Lumpur Center radioed, “Malaysian three-seven-zero, contact Ho Chi Minh one-two-zero-decimal-nine. Good night.” Zaharie answered, “Good night. Malaysian three-seven-zero.” He did not read back the frequency, as he should have, but otherwise the transmission sounded normal. It was the last the world heard from MH370. The pilots never checked in with Ho Chi Minh or answered any of the subsequent attempts to raise them..."

-Source: “What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane” by William Langewiesche (The Atlantic)

Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Georgia's Episode Sources

  1. “60 Minutes: New theory of MH370’s flight leads to ‘horrifying’ conclusion” by Benedict Brook (News.com.au)
  2. “Murder theory after claims of new MH370 evidence by British researcher” by Mitchell Van Homrigh (News.com.au)
  3. “Statement on Mr Richard Godfrey’s analysis of the location for missing aircraft MH370” Australian Government & Australian Transport Safety Bureau 
  4. “What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane” by William Langewiesche (The Atlantic)
  5. “MH370 pilot was in control 'until the end': French investigators” by Henry Samual (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  6. “Four years later, new MH370 probe finds someone veered the plane off course” by  Cleve R. Wootson Jr. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  7. “Timeline of significant actions—Search for missing airline MH370” Australian Government & The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts 
  8. “Timeline of MH370 disappearance” by CNN Staff 
  9. “Four-year search for Flight MH370 to end leaving an unsolved mystery” by (Washington Post)
  10. “Missing Malaysia plane: The passengers on board MH370” (BBC News)
  11. “Facts About Malaysia Flight 370: Passengers, Crew & Aircraft” by Tim Sharp (LiveScience)
  12. “Malaysian investigators release 1,500-page report into disappearance of MH370 – as it happened” by Kate Lyons (The Guardian)
  14. “Malaysia Airlines Flight 370” (Wikipedia)
  15. “Malaysia Flight 370: The 10 Big Questions” by Tom Watkins and Michael Pearson (CNN)
  16. How Are Planes Decommissioned, and How Much Value Can Be Salvaged From Their Parts?
  17. “No evidence crew or pilots hijacked MH370, says report” by Lindsay Murdoch (The Sydney News Herald)
  18. “Here's the most far-out part of the theory that Russia hijacked Malaysia Airlines MH370” by Bryan Logan (Business Insider)
  19. “Unexplained Mysteries: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370”
  20. “The new MH370 report quashed a wild theory that the plane's cargo of fruit and batteries turned it into a giant, flying bomb” by Sinéad Baker (Business Insider)
  21. “Exclusive: MH370 Pilot Flew a Suicide Route on His Home Simulator Closely Matching Final Flight” by Jeff Wise (New York Magazine)