Malaysian Airlines MH370: Could Viral Stanford Student’s Theory Solve the Mystery?

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By Athena Yenko | March 14, 2014 4:24 PM EST

Andrew Aude, 20, undergraduate computer science student at Stanford University came out of his own theory surrounding the unprecedented mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370.

He posted his theory through his Tumbler account on March 10 and although it  had yet to be verified by aviation experts, the post had since became viral online.

Mr Aude based his theory on a 2013 Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Airworthiness Directive for the Boeing 777 saying that 777 had one flaw - a "cracking in the fuselage skin underneath the satellite communication (satcom) antenna adapter" was spotted on 777. 

With this as his basis, Mr Aude wrote that the missing MH370 might have experienced the same problem which leads to one, failure of satcom and two, a slow decompression which resulted to MH370's pilots disoriented and passengers unconscious.

"If the decompression was slow enough, it's possible the pilots did not realise to put on oxygen masks until it was too late," he wrote.  

Mr Aude also wrote that Boeing 777 does not deploy oxygen masks until the cabin altitude reaches 13,500 feet.

 "777 Passenger Oxygen masks do not deploy until cabin altitude reaches 13,500. Passengers were likely already unconscious by then, if it was a slow decompression. Also remember that this flight was a red-eye, most passengers would be trying to sleep, masking alarming effects of oxygen deprivation. No confirmed debris has been found in the search area, consistent with the plane having flown for hours after it lost radar contact," he wrote.

According to his opinion, the autopilot function of the MH370 might have lead the plane to travel along its plan route and altitude before plunging into the East China Sea, the Sea of Japan or the Pacific Ocean - miles from the South China Sea where rescue efforts have been concentrated.

He therefore concluded that "this was likely not an explosive decompression or inflight disintegration".

Mr Aude wrote his post after he discovered the FAA's Airworthiness Directive on PPRUNE, forums (Professional Pilots Rumour Network, an aviation website for airline pilots and aviation buffs).

"In the same forum, I discovered how some of the 777's radar systems depend on satcom and GPS. I considered these facts alongside the mobile phones ringing and the mumbling pilots, and I had come up with the proposed explanation," he said.

Click this link to read his theory in full.

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