Comments about technological history, system fractures, and human resilience from James R. Chiles, the author of Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology (HarperBusiness 2001; paperback 2002) and The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks, the Story of the Helicopter (Random House, 2007, paperback 2008)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Malaysia Airlines 370: Intentional Destruction? Not so fast

I don't think intentional destruction by someone on board is the best fit for the the irregular public disclosures about MH370's flight path. While it makes sense for investigators to pursue that possibility, to me, it's a weak hypothesis.

Fly-by-wire jets are extremely complex devices with novel modes of failure (see the subject "sneak circuit analysis"), and a common cause such as an electrical fire in the avionics racks could help explain more than a few of the circumstances: the erratic flight path, a crew disabled by hypoxia, abrupt altitude changes, transponders going off line ... in any case, more posts to follow.

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