As we reach the 11th day with little additional information on MH370, many interesting theories have emerged. While we do not like to speculate, some of the theories being espoused raise interesting questions.
One of those theories, detailed here by Keith Ledgerwood, a hobby pilot and aviation geek, is intriguing. Could MH370 have shadowed another commercial flight to avoid radar detection? Theoretically, this is possible, until the conclusion of the trip, where it would need to break away from the other flight and would be potentially visible on radar through a descent and landing.
If the MH370 aircraft did indeed shadow SIA68, as indicated in his analysis, the question is when would it have it broken off, and what happened to the flight after that point. Was it visible on radar, or in an area with poor radar coverage? We are aware that in some remote regions, radar may not be manned in early morning hours. The big question is where the airplane could have gone?
It is hard to hide a Boeing 777 with a Malaysian Airlines paint job and registry 9M-MRO on the fuselage, even in remote or sparsely populated areas, without somebody knowing. And there aren’t that many empty hangars big enough that they can’t all quickly be checked by authorities. Of course, a large runway would also be needed, assuming one wanted to take off again, upwards of 8,000 feet with a full fuel load. That also narrows the range of places that could be quickly checked. It is highly unlikely that a 777-200 could land in a remote desert in Central Asia and simply disappear.
The mystery deepens. While this theory is only such, it does provide a potential future terrorist playbook that is somewhat alarming. If a plane could remain invisible by shadowing another airliner, could that technique be used to mount an attack on a target and execute it before interception is possible. Precision flying, yes. Improbable, yes. Totally out of the question, unfortunately no. It makes for an interesting read while we all await more information on the fate of MH370.