Veteran 777 Pilot's Insight on Malaysia Airlines Plane Disappearance

More than a week after it vanished, investigators appear to be no closer to establishing the whereabouts of a Malaysian airliner.

Australian vessels have been searching the southern Indian Ocean and China has offered 21 of its satellites to help in the unprecedented hunt.

“The 777 is probably the most magnificent airplane I’ve ever flown," Capt. Scott Shankland said

Shankland, a pilot who’s flown for American Airlines for more than 20 years, has spent most of his years flying in the Boeing 777 like Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Shankland believes someone took control of the plane.

“The airplane navigates off course, there’s changes in altitudes, and there’s deliberate turning off of some of the communications equipment," Shankland said. “So, someone with some experience has got to be in control of that aircraft.”

But Shankland doesn’t think whoever was flying the plane had much experience in the cockpit.

“The aircraft navigates kind of in a zig-zag fashion, there’s kind of what appear to be erratic altitude change," Shankland said. "To me, I kind of view that as maybe someone with limited experience is in control of that airplane."

As the search area widens, Shankland thinks the investigation should too.

“I’m not sure focusing on the pilots is the right thing to do," Shankland said. "You’ve got to look at them, but you also got to look at every passenger on the airplane."

Like family members of those on board, Shankland and other pilots are waiting anxiously for answers - answers that may never come.

“I do believe there was definitely human intervention, what their motive was, is as good a guess to you as it is to me” says Shankland.

Malaysia's defense minister said he still hasn't ruled out that the aircraft might be discovered intact.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us