Local pilot describes missing jet's comm system

Local pilot describes missing jet's comm system

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by Wayne Havrelly, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on March 15, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 17 at 6:04 AM

PORTLAND -- Jim Hummel worked in a cockpit for 39 years before retiring in Battle Ground, Wash.  Now he's glued to the latest developments out of Malaysia. 

"From the very beginning, I had thoughts something just wasn't right," said Hummel.

The Malaysian Prime Minister now says the planes disappearance was no accident. Investigators have determined someone deliberately turned off the jet's so-called Aircraft Communications Addressing and reporting System.  They know this because of 5 hours of timed pings coming from the plane--pings that had no data.

"On the airliner I flew, you had to pull a circuit breaker to turn off the ACAR," said Hummel.

Just like in U.S. airliners, the door to the cockpit is reinforced and secure. Hummel says whoever was in control of the plane, also knew how to program the navigation system because the plane appeared to follow a specific oceanic flight path. 

"Somebody put information in that flight management system and I would say it had to be somebody who had experience on a Boeing 777," said Hummel. 

Malaysian police are now searching the pilot's home. 

The veteran Malaysian Airlines captain is 53 years old. His co-pilot is 27.  Within hours of the announcement that the disappearance was no accident, Japan and Vietnam halted search operations. 

The U.S. military continues to search for any evidence from the missing plane. 

"It's just mind boggling that a sophisticated plane like this can just disappear," said Hummel. 

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