Ok, here's my latest theory.
Either there was a fire on the plane that knocked out the radio and ATC
beacon, or the pilots turned off the ATC beacon because of some ulterior
Someone behind the trigger of a ground-to-air missle defense battery (in
Malaysia, Cambodia, or Vietnam? Or Thailand?) deems that the plane is a
threat, fires missle at plane.
Missle damages plane (in one case leading to more fire damage, in the
other case causing the fire damage). Controlled flying to high altitude
(if indeed this really happened, if various radar reports are accurate)
is likely if a trained pilot is controlling the plane.
If the plane was not under the control of malicious pilots at the time
of some in-flight mishap that happened along it's normal flight path
midway between Malaysia and Vietnam, then I dare anyone to explain why
it wouldn't have attempted to land at either Phenom Penh or Ho Chi Minh
(assuming either had a mile-long runway) or Singapore.
I could understand why they might not attempt a return to Kuala Lumpur
if it meant having to cross a mountain range and a 180-degree turn.
Yet another theory - we have another shoe or underware bomber, who
successfully detonates their bomb, causing fire in the cabin, that
somehow interferes with radio communication. What happens next is
anyone's guess - but must answer how plane apparently stays flying for a
further 7 hours (if we believe radio data from engine telemetry).
But the bottom line is -> can we rule out a ground-based missle strike
based on what the various militaries in the area have (or haven't)
As to whether this plane could reach, let alone maintain controlled
flight at 45k feet, I give you this:
==========Excessive weight reduces the flight performance of an airplane in almost
deficiencies of the overloaded airplane are:
Higher takeoff speed.
Longer takeoff run.
Reduced rate and angle of climb.
Lower maximum altitude.
Shorter range (more weight lifted = more work done = more fuel
Reduced cruising speed.
Higher stalling speed.
Higher landing speed.
Longer landing roll.
Excessive weight on the nosewheel.
It should be obvious to anyone that a heavy plane can't fly as high as
an empty plane of the exact same type.
It's also the case that Boeing's maximum service altitude of 43k feet
might not be a for a fully loaded and fueled plane. The comments that
Boeing gives a spec of 43k feet and builds in a comfortable safety
factor is ludicrous. Because unlike other specs that are really hard to
get an absolute handle on (that would involve, say, destructive testing
on fully-built and operational samples) it's dead easy to fly a test
planes at various altitudes and measure this parameter safely. And
because air qualities (pressure, temperature, humidity, etc) are
probably constant at 40 - 50k feet all over the world, this max-altitude
number would also hold true regardless where in the world the plane is
It is usually very beneficial to fly at high altitudes, as there is less
turbulance, less air resistance, and the possibility to fly faster and
thus be more fuel efficient. But there must be enough air density to
allow for lift at a given speed and wing shape, and extending the flaps
to provide enough lift at high altitudes works against your desire to be
fuel efficient. Hence why most planes fly long-distance routes at
cruise altitudes of 33k to 37k feet.