The research by aerospace engineer Richard Godfrey, of the Independent Group of Scientists, set up to solve the MH370 mystery – found that the flight path of the Boeing 777 jet was “significantly different” from earlier modelling based on satellite data.
He said they were like “electronic tripwires” that triggered invisible signals when aircraft crossed them. The signals could then be used to trace the aircraft.
Mr Godfrey’s latest study agreed with the broad flight path of MH370 from satellite data, and its suspected crash site at 34.5 degrees south, south-west of Western Australia.
But his research suggests the pilot had changed direction and speed multiple times to avoid giving any clear idea where he was heading.
“The pilot of MH370 generally avoided official flight routes from 18:00 UTC (2am Australian Western Standard Time) onwards but used waypoints to navigate on unofficial flight paths in the Malacca Strait, around Sumatra and across the Southern Indian Ocean,” Mr Godfrey said.
“The flight path follows the coast of Sumatra and flies close to Banda Aceh Airport.
“The pilot appears to have had knowledge of the operating hours of Sabang and Lhokseumawe radar and that on a weekend night, in times of little international tension the radar systems would not be up and running.”
And Mr Godfrey also said in the case the plane was detected, “the pilot also avoided giving a clear idea where he was heading by using a fight path with a number of changes of direction.”
The many changes of direction and speed also suggest that there was an active pilot during the flight, Mr Godfrey said.
“Speed changes were beyond the level of changes expected if the aircraft was following a speed schedule such as the long range cruise (LRC) or maximum range cruise (MRC) mode,” he said.
“The level of detail in the planning implies a mindset that would want to see this complex plan properly executed through to the end.”
On the morning of March 8, 227 passengers boarded the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and expected to step off in Beijing, China.
The plane never arrived, and the search for the missing jet became the most costly in aviation history.
The most likely scenario involved someone in the cockpit of Flight 370, probably Captain Zaharie, re-programming the aircraft’s autopilot to travel south across the Indian Ocean.