More than 10 days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, the investigation has become a full criminal probe, with attention increasingly focused on the flight’s two pilots, given the assessment by experts and officials that whoever disabled the plane’s communication systems and then flew the jet must have had a high degree of technical knowledge and flying experience. CBS News rounds up the latest on where the investigation stands now.
Course change programmed into flight computer – As further confirmation that someone was still guiding the plane after it disappeared from civilian radar, airline pilots and aviation safety experts said an onboard computer called the flight management system would have to be deliberately programmed in order to follow the pathway taken by the plane as described by Malaysian authorities. Citing senior American officials, The New York Times reported that the course change was typed into a cockpit computer, rather than executed manually, by someone knowledgable about airplane systems. Malaysia Airlines’ CEO, Tuesday, couldn’t confirm or deny those reports.
“All right, good night” – Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said Monday that “initial investigations show it was the co-pilot who spoke” those final words from the cockpit to air traffic control. But government officials did not say the speaker’s identity had been confirmed. Officials also revised the timeline for that final message, suggesting that it may have come shortly before the flight’sAircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, was shut off, rather than after.
Pilots’ homes raided – Malaysian police searched the homes of both pilotsSaturday. Whoever disabled the plane’s communication systems and then flew the jet must have had a high degree of technical knowledge and flying experience, Malaysian officials and aviation experts said, adding to suspicions that one or both of the pilots, Zaharie Ahmad Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, may have been involved in the disappearance of the flight.
Flight simulator confiscated – Police confiscated an elaborate flight simulatorthat one of the pilots, Zaharie, had built in his home and reassembled it in their offices to study it for clues. Citing a senior police officer with direct knowledge of the investigation, Reuters reported Tuesday that Zaharie’s simulator included programs for runways in the Maldives, Sri Lanka and other Indian Ocean countries, as well as runways in the U.S. and Europe. The pilot had previously posted photos online of the simulator, which was made with three large computer monitors and other accessories. Earlier in the investigation, the head of Malaysia Airlines said the simulator was not in itself cause for any suspicion.