Australia Basically Just Confirmed That the MH370 Pilot Simulated a One-Way Flight Into the Ocean

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Zaharie Ahmad Shah

After we posted a story last Friday reporting that the FBI found data on MH370 captain Zaharie Shah’s flight-simulator hard drives indicating that he had practiced a one-way flight into the southern Indian Ocean — and that the Malaysian government had suppressed the finding — Malaysia countered emphatically. “We have never submitted such a report to any authority abroad including the FBI,” inspector general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told the Malay Mail Online yesterday. “The story is not true.” (Worth noting: We said that the FBI had given the report to Malaysia, not vice versa.)

Then, earlier today, the newspaper The Australian published an article by commercial pilot Byron Bailey in which he argues that the flight-simulator data proved that Zaharie had committed suicide, and with that data in hand, search officials should have known where to look. Now it was the Australian government’s turn. In a posting to a section of its website called “Correcting the record,” the agency responsible for the MH370 seabed search, the Australian Transport Safety Board, responded to several of Bailey’s claims, including his interpretation of the flight-sim data: >

Mr Bailey also claims that FBI data from MH370 captain’s home simulator shows that the captain plotted a course to the southern Indian Ocean and that it was a deliberate planned murder/suicide. There is no evidence to support this claim. As Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said in a statement, the simulator information shows only the possibility of planning. It does not reveal what happened on the night of its disappearance nor where the aircraft is located. While the FBI data provides a piece of information, the best available evidence of the aircraft’s location is based on what we know from the last satellite communications with the aircraft. This is indeed the consensus of international satellite and aircraft specialists.

Note that while rebutting Bailey’s claims, the ATSB tacitly acknowledges the fact that the FBI did recover information from flight-simulator data from one of Zaharie’s hard drives, and strongly implies that it suggests Zaharie planned a flight into the southern Indian Ocean.

Amid the furor caused by Friday’s article, Australia’s opposition Labor Party called on the government to release whatever information it has on the missing plane. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he would not.

After we posted a story last Friday reporting that the FBI found data on MH370 captain Zaharie Shah’s flight-simulator hard drives indicating that he had practiced a one-way flight into the southern Indian Ocean — and that the Malaysian government had suppressed the finding — Malaysia countered emphatically. “We have never submitted such a report to any authority abroad including the FBI,” inspector general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told the Malay Mail Online yesterday. “The story is not true.” (Worth noting: We said that the FBI had given the report to Malaysia, not vice versa.)

Then, earlier today, the newspaper The Australian published an article by commercial pilot Byron Bailey in which he argues that the flight-simulator data proved that Zaharie had committed suicide, and with that data in hand, search officials should have known where to look. Now it was the Australian government’s turn. In a posting to a section of its website called “Correcting the record,” the agency responsible for the MH370 seabed search, the Australian Transport Safety Board, responded to several of Bailey’s claims, including his interpretation of the flight-sim data: >