Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Modern Airplanes 'Don't Just Fall Out of the Sky': Expert

 / Updated 

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A key question facing investigators after a Malaysia Airlines flight went missing will be why it dropped off the radar without its pilots transmitting any last messages, an aviation expert said.

“This was a modern, latest generation airplane which has gone missing,” said David Learmont, operations and safety editor at Flight International magazine, told NBC News. “These don’t just fall out of the sky. Modern airplanes just don’t.”

Image: Screengrab from flightradar24.com showing the last reported position of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370,
This screengrab from flightradar24.com shows the last reported position of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Friday night March 7. The Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact over the South China Sea on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and international aviation authorities still hadn't located the jetliner several hours later.AP

A search-and-rescue mission was under way for the Boeing 777-200, which was carrying 239 people when it lost contact with air traffic control en route to Beijing.

At that stage of the flight the jet would have been on “cruise” with the pilots not having very much to do, Learmont said.

“Why didn’t [the pilots] say anything?” Learmont asked.

On the face of it, the circumstances surrounding the Malaysia Airlines flight disappearance seemed similar to the Air France 447 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009.

“Air France 447 went missing over the sea, at night and there was no emergency call,” Learmont added.

Some wreckage and bodies from that flight were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

Investigators said that a combination of technical and human errors were to blame for the Air France crash.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news