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10 Unsolved Aviation Mysteries [Pic]

10 Unsolved Aviation Mysteries

Flight 19: Six Navy Aircraft Fall Victim to the Bermuda Triangle
At the height of World War II, the United States Navy dispatched five torpedo bombers on a routine training flight over the Bermuda Triangle. The Bermuda Triangle is somewhat famous for eating airplanes, so it is hardly surprising that all 14 crewmembers aboard the five military aircraft were never seen or heard from again. But hours later, the Navy sent an additional 13 men on a search-and-rescue mission in a Mariner flying boat . . . and, wouldn”t you know it, they didn”t return either. To this day, the fate of Flight 19 remains a mystery, and reminds us to just stay away from the triangle.

EgyptAir Flight 990: Suicide Pilot or Terrorist Plot?
In 1999 an EgyptAir Boeing 767 departed from Los Angeles and then crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 217 passengers and crew. The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) blamed mechanical failure, but the United States National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) suggested that the pilot committed suicide. The pilot”s last recorded words were, “I rely on God,” so it was open season for speculation. Conspiracy theorists blamed the Mossad, the CIA, and Egyptian extremists, but we still don”t know who or what actually knocked Flight 990 out of the sky. EgyptAir ultimately retired flight no. 990, and the company no longer runs the Los Angeles route at all.

Amelia Earhart
It wouldn”t be a list of airplane mysteries without her. In 1937 Amelia Earhart vanished in a Lockheed Electra, never to finish her round-the-world flight. The only clues that Earhart and her Electra left behind were a few garbled (and disputed) radio transmissions. We may never know what happened to Amelia Earhart after that doomed flight. The simplest theory that she ditched her airplane and died at sea has never quite satisfied popular imagination. The craziest theories have her captured and executed by the Japanese government or quietly living out her days in New Jersey under an assumed name. Regardless, this remains one of aviation”s greatest unsolved mysteries.

Helios Airways Flight 522: The Stuff of Nightmares
In 2005, Helios Airways Flight 522 veered only slightly off course on its short hop from Cyprus to Greece, but the crew was ignoring all radio transmissions. After 19 attempts to contact the passenger jet, two F-16s scrambled to intercept the rogue airplane. As they flew alongside Flight 522, the F-16 pilots noticed that the captain”s chair was empty, the copilot was lying motionless, and oxygen masks were dangling from the ceiling.
Everyone on board was dead.
Hours after most of the 117 passengers and crew had suffocated, the autopilot remained engaged as the F-16s escorted the ghost plane until it crashed into a hillside in Greece. Subsequent investigations proved that the pilots had failed to pressurize the cabin, but simple explanations could not possibly satisfy those who revel in the possibility of a haunted aircraft.

B47 Stratojet: A Nuclear Bomber Goes Missing
It”s bad when three Air Force officers and a multimillion-dollar heavy bomber are lost at sea. It”s even worse when that heavy bomber is carrying two nuclear weapon cores, the contents of which are never recovered. In 1956 a nuclear B47 Stratojet disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea. We still have no idea what happened to the airplane, its crew, or either of its two nuclear bombs. The United States government has lost only 11 nukes in its historyso-called “broken arrows” that do not create a risk of nuclear war. But other broken arrows went down under less mysterious circumstances, and the B47 Stratojet”s dangerous payload has yet to be recovered.
Aer Lingus Flight 712: Passenger Jet Taken Out by a Rogue Missile?
When a 1968 Aer Lingus crash killed all 61 people on board, an investigation determined that something unusual had brought down the passenger jet. Obvious deformities in the airplane”s left tail suggested either serious corrosion or a bird strike, but several witnesses claimed that a British missile had taken down the jet. Although the Brits vehemently dismissed the rumors of a rogue missile launch, some evidence suggests that such a scenario is at least possible, if unlikely. Almost 50 years later, we still don”t know exactly what knocked Flight 712 out of the sky, but the British missile theory leaves many wondering whether a military mistake sent 61 civilians into the Irish deep.
Pan Am Flight 7: Luxury Airliner Descends Into Legend
Billed as Clipper Romance of the Skies, Pan Am Flight 7 provided one of the most luxurious trips around the world back in 1957. But on one routine flight from California to Hawaii, the Boeing Stratocruiser disappeared without a trace. For five days, search-and-rescue teams scrambled to find the wreckage. Once the Clipper was finally found, however, the discovery raised even more questions. The Boeing craft was drifting in the ocean, miles off course, and autopsies suggested carbon monoxide poisoning. Even now, some speculate that the crash was an act of insurance fraud or revenge perpetrated by a disgruntled crewmember.
Flying Tiger Line Flight 739: Military Scours the Pacific for 100 Lost Soldiers
In 1962 a Lockheed Constellation took off over the Pacific Ocean carrying 96 soldiers and 11 crewmen, and then disappeared forever. The military conducted one of the largest search-and-rescue missions in the history of the Pacific, but never found a trace of their lost soldiers. Flying Tiger Line, an early cargo airline and military contractor, speculated that the flight had been hijacked or otherwise sabotaged, but admitted that they had no evidence to support their theories. Sailors aboard a Liberian tanker reported a fireball splashing into the sea, which suggests that Flight 739 exploded in midair. That was never confirmed.
Northwest Airlines and D.B. Cooper: A Hijacker Parachutes Into History
Although his antics never caused an airplane crash, D.B. Cooper”s story is one of aviation”s wackiest unsolved mysteries. In 1971 an unknown hijacker took control of a Boeing 727, forced the crew to land in Seattle, obtained $200,000 in ransom money, and released all of the passengers unharmed. He then ordered the pilot to take off and fly low over Mexico, where he parachuted to freedom. The police never caught D.B Cooper. Popular media gave him his moniker, and a crude pencil sketch gives us an idea of what he looked like, but who exactly D.B. Cooper was and where he is now remains a mystery. Some suspect that he died after ejecting from the airplane, but others maintain that this aerial criminal is still at large, sipping cold drinks south of the border.
British South American Airways Star Dust: One Mystery Finally Solved
Until 15 years ago, rumor and intrigue surrounded the story of Star Dust, an airliner that disappeared without a trace in 1947. Widespread searches failed to turn up any trace of the aircraft or its 11 passengers, and theories of spies, sabotage, and even alien abduction swarmed around tales of the lost prop plane. But 50 years later glacial ice in the Andes melted to reveal wreckage that looked startlingly like Star Dust. We now know that the aircraft plunged into the snowy mountain range and, on impact, instantly buried itself in an avalanche. It took half a century of glacial melting, but this puzzle was finally solved.

The Malaysia Airlines flight is only the latest mystery in a long line of aviation puzzles.

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Category: Misc
Date: 03/15/14 12:50 PM

29 Responses to 10 Unsolved Aviation Mysteries [Pic]

  1. Profile photo of ElectricEye
    ElectricEye Male 40-49
    2720 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 10:04 am
    Link: 10 Unsolved Aviation Mysteries - The Malaysia Airlines flight is only the latest mystery in a long line of aviation puzzles.
  2. Profile photo of Zghost
    Zghost Male 13-17
    152 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm
    Cool stuff but I"m pretty sure they found Amelia`s remains on some island, and Flight 19`s weren`t found until recently because the Gulf stream and the ocean currents moved some of them very far away
  3. Profile photo of tedgp
    tedgp Male 30-39
    3287 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm
    How is the malaysian airlines flight a mystery? It was drating hijacked.
  4. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm
    @ Tedgp: "How is the Malaysia Airlines flight a mystery? It was drating hijacked."

    Who hijacked it? Why? Where`s the plane now? Are the passengers alive or dead? If they`re dead, how did they die?

    I`m amazed to learn that you have the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 all figured it. Better contact the authorities with that inside scoop of yours ASAP.

    Awesome post, ElectricEye. Ignore the riffraff around here.
  5. Profile photo of ba12348
    ba12348 Male 18-29
    228 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm
    @Squrlz4Sale: Iranians with stolen passports on board the Malaysian plane? Sure makes me wonder...
  6. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm
    @ Ba12348: It certainly appears that the plane was hijacked. But the latest stories I`m reading make the case that the flight path the airliner took after departing from its planned route used GPS waypoints in a way that only an experienced pilot could program into the plane`s computers. In other words, it was a methodically and expertly created new course and *not* what you would expect if a pilot were being forced to fly the plane. Because of this, many experts believe either the pilots themselves hijacked the plane or that whoever hijacked it had extensive flight training.

    From what I`ve read, the two people who were using stolen passports are no longer suspected of being involved.

    It`s an astonishing story, that`s for sure.

    It also tells me that autonomous GPS transponders that cannot be deactivated *by anyone* while a passenger jet is in the air are long overdue.
  7. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 3:28 pm
    @ Ba12348 addendum: In case you, or anyone else for that matter, are wondering how you could create an autonomous GPS transponder that can`t be deactivated, here`s one approach:

    Built into the plane`s vertical stabilizer, you could have a small air intake passing air through a small turbine hooked up to a generator, which would power the transponder. The transponder would be accessible only from the exterior of the aircraft. As long as the jet is moving through the air, the transponder has power and no one other than Superman is going to be able to access it.
  8. Profile photo of tedgp
    tedgp Male 30-39
    3287 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm
    Squirlz maybe you should watch the news sometimes and not the biased ones. The authorities have already said that it was hijacked and they kept track of it for several hours until it fell off the radar.

    As with all hijackings, nobody will know who did it until they are caught or until a relevant party admits to it.
  9. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm
    @ Tedgp: Ah. No mystery then. Carry on, everyone! Ted`s determined that the mystery of Flight 370 is solved.
  10. Profile photo of paperduck
    paperduck Male 18-29
    1745 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm
    The DB Cooper one is slightly wrong, he bailed over Washington or Oregon somewhere. They found some stash of the money years later in the forests where he jumped but nothing else.
  11. Profile photo of paperduck
    paperduck Male 18-29
    1745 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm
    No one knows exactly what happened to flight 370. Despite what top investigator tedgp over here has to say, there are inconsistencies to the hijacking scenario.

    @Squirlz doesn`t the black box transmit data and cannot be turned off? Also it disappeared from surface to air radar (which you cannot "turn off" from the plane). That indicates a mid-air total demise. The mystery is no wreckage. But again, no one knows exactly what happened.
  12. Profile photo of Andrew155
    Andrew155 Male 18-29
    2579 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm
    There is going to be immense speculation in this threat, I have seen it.

    But yeah, probably a hijacking. Circumstances are bizarre. Why would you fly for 5+ hours only to just crash it into the ocean? It`s possible for a hijacker to learn to fly it well, or it`s possible for them to compel an experienced pilot to do their will. Or it could be the younger pilot who was being weird with the Australian girls.
  13. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm
    @ Paperduck: I *think* the black boxes simply record all the data of the flight for later analysis in the event of a crash. I don`t believe they have any ability to send a GPS signal during the flight.

    I have zero credentials in this area, so take this with a truckload of salt.
  14. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 4:36 pm
    @ Paperduck: For me, the astonishing thing about this story is that *no one* knows where a large Boeing 777 went. *No one*. They don`t know if it`s landed or if it`s crashed. They don`t even know what *ocean* they should be searching in, for heaven`s sake.

    I can`t remember an aviation mystery as big as this one in my lifetime.

    (Wow, I`m chatty tonight. That third coffee is really kicking in!)

  15. Profile photo of dagfizz
    dagfizz Male 30-39
    20 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm
    @Squrlz4Sale: "Are the passengers alive or dead?"

    According to Erwin Schrodinger, the passengers are both dead and alive at this point.
  16. Profile photo of Andrew155
    Andrew155 Male 18-29
    2579 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 5:08 pm
    The black box doesn`t transmit a signal that they can lock onto. There were multiple systems that were turned off at different times. The first was the transponder. This is easy to turn off, it`s just a switch near the pilot`s seat. However, you would only turn it off if you had malicious intent. Without the transponder, your aircraft is harder to trace.

    Then they turned of the ACARS like 15 minutes later. That takes a bit more effort. And I think they turned even further systems off. Nothing good way done to it.

    But I don`t know why they would go through all this effort just to crash the plane into the Indian ocean. So - maybe it got stolen?
  17. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 5:33 pm
    @ Dagfizz: "According to Erwin Schrodinger, the passengers are both dead and alive at this point."

    *whoosh* ~passes paw quickly over forehead~

    Could you explain that one for me? Totally went over my head. And the Wikipedia entry on Schrodinger isn`t helping. :-(
  18. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 5:53 pm
    @ Andrew155: I imagine you`ve read the speculation that the plane was stolen by terrorists "for later use." That`s a disturbing scenario. But then if the plane didn`t crash, how do you land such a thing without anyone knowing about it? From what I`ve read, you need an airstip at least one mile long for a 777. That`s generally going to mean an airport, civilian or militiary, or a major highway.

    Since there isn`t even a *rumor* of this thing landing safely, then... what? Was it an attempt at stealing a plane that went wrong and they wound up crashing in the ocean? *Which* ocean?

    Ohmigosh. I`m really shaking my head over this thing.
  19. Profile photo of paddy215
    paddy215 Male 18-29
    1677 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 6:11 pm
    Didn`t the co-pilot in that EgyptAir one get disgraced shortly before that flight and told it would be his last?
  20. Profile photo of ferdyfred
    ferdyfred Male 40-49
    13515 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm
    `According to Erwin Schrodinger, the passengers are both dead and alive at this point`

    Guess that covers his expertise
  21. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 7:01 pm
    OK, here goes: I`m going to propound a theory on Flight 370 based on what I`ve read online. This is 90% conjecture and speculation. And the remaining 10% was pulled out of my little squirrel butt.

    The younger copilot got caught up with a terrorist group, whether for financial or ideological reasons. He and the captain had a history of bending the rules. They are reported to have recently invited two attractive women into the flight deck for an entire flight, for example. On this flight, which departed after midnight, the captain quickly went to sleep, planning to awake mid-flight.

    The copilot determined he would divert the flight after the Malaysian ATC had handed off the plane, but before the Vietnamese ATC had picked it up: the perfect opportunity for a plane to go missing. While the captain slept, he turned off the transponders and diverted the flight. Most of the passengers were sleeping and unaware of the change in direction.

  22. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Eventually, passengers became aware that the plane was flying westerly and not to the northeast. At that point, the copilot made an announcement that the plane had been diverted due to weather. The passengers were not alarmed or panicked; in fact, most of them continued to doze.

    At about this point, the captain awoke. He quickly recognized that the plane was hundreds of miles off its planned route and headed out into the southern Indian Ocean. He asked the copilot what had happened. The copilot initially placated the pilot by saying that the plane had been diverted. Soon thereafter, the pilot noticed the plane`s transponder had been shut off. Agitated, he began questioning the copilot further and an argument ensued, which escalated to a violent struggle. In the course of that struggle, the control of the plane was lost and it crashed into the ocean below.

    Not great, but it`s the best I can do. *Unusual* doesn`t even begin to describe this thing.
  23. Profile photo of Andrew155
    Andrew155 Male 18-29
    2579 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 7:16 pm
    That scenario is not likely since it looks the struggle happened much sooner. The airplane went all the way up to 43,000 feet and then turned around, going down to 23,000 feet as it went toward the Indian ocean. Then it went up to 30,000 feet.

    Really, it`s confusing. Hijacking of some sort is certain. But that means it still could`ve crashed. The alternative would be it is being hidden in some country in a large hangar. The amount of candidate countries aren`t many.

    Iran, Pakistan, Burma, Indonesia? There`s also Russia. Russia could`ve done it to distract from Crimea. It`s working. But these are complete guesses. Speculation run amok.

    I just have a hard time imagining someone hijacking a plane and flying it for 5-7 hours only to crash it into the ocean.
  24. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 7:22 pm
    @ Andrew: Thanks for the feedback, seriously. Agreed. *Really* hard to understand what could`ve happened. It does appear someone was trying to steal the plane. As you say, if the goal was murder/suicide/martyrdom, why fly with the transponders off *for hours*?

    If and when that airplane is ever found, the flight deck voice recorder will certainly be worth a listen.
  25. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm
    @ Andrew: Just to continue a bit (my caffeine buzz is only beginning to taper off here)...

    The reasons I`m suggesting a copilot vs. pilot struggle are the following:

    1. I agree that the plane was hijacked. The flight path pretty much makes that certain.

    2. It also appears the passengers were not at any time alarmed. No panicked phone calls or text messages. So no one stood up in the passenger section and waved a gun around. In fact, it appears that the passengers didn`t realize anything was going wrong at all.

    3. So based on #2, it looks like the crew hijacked the plane. But if they did, how could a pilot and copilot working *together* lose control of the plane? That`s highly unlikely. And it doesn`t appear to be a suicide mission.

    4. Therefore, it seems as if one of the crew was conducting the hijacking, which proceeded just fine until the 2nd crew member resisted.

  26. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    5. We know that it`s not unheard of, although against the rules, for a pilot to go to sleep after take-off on an overnight flight and let the copilot fly the plane during most of the night, then awake in time to take charge of the final approach and landing.

    6. We know from an eyewitness account that this pilot and copilot recently broke the rules in allowing two female passengers to join them in the flight deck for the entire flight. So it seems they weren`t by-the-book types and it`s certainly possible that the pilot had been trusting the copilot to fly the middle portion of the overnight flights while he slept.

    7. If #1 through #6 are correct, it would explain why the expert hijacking of a plane conducted without alarming the passengers seems to have ended abruptly with the plane`s crash.

    8. I`m going with the crash scenario because I think it`s far more likely than a successful secret landing somewhere.
  27. Profile photo of Andrew155
    Andrew155 Male 18-29
    2579 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 9:12 pm
    Yeah, I think it`s just too fantastical of an idea for this plane to have landed in some secret location and have all of the passengers be alive. I really wish that`s what happened though, so I`m hoping.

    But a crash in the Indian ocean is more likely. I agree, the crew seems the most likely culprit - probably the young pilot. The older pilot is a flying nerd with 18,000 hours and a youtube channel.

    So if it`s the younger pilot, what`s he trying to do?

    I swear, this is sounding like a Liam Neeson movie. Maybe "Taken 3: Off my plane", or something.
  28. Profile photo of paperduck
    paperduck Male 18-29
    1745 posts
    March 15, 2014 at 10:10 pm
    Do you guys remember the online speculations on the boston marathon bombers prior to the release of the photos of the actual suspects? If you were keeping track of the various threads in that you`ll know how wildly imaginative people can be, but the chances of getting it right is 1 in a million. That`s why I`m saying we have no friggin clue what happened. I have to admit, it would be awesome if the plane landed somewhere, and I`m hoping for that too but really have zero to base that on.
  29. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    March 16, 2014 at 5:53 am
    @ Paperduck: I remember about the Boston Marathon bombings and I agree: the likelihood of anyone being able to guess what actually happened is next-to-nil. Still, for fans of Occam`s Razor, it`s a fascinating challenge: What possible explanation is the least outlandish given the few bizarre facts we know?

    I`ll also add that this kind of speculation has no place in the major media--TV and radio news, especially--out of respect for the families and in order to prevent the spreading of rumors.

    Like you, I`d be elated if the passengers miraculously turned up unharmed. With every passing day, however, it`s looking more and more unlikely. :-(

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