Malaysia originally claimed they saw MH370 on military radar climb to 45,000ft (in excess of its service ceiling) then drop 40,000ft (12,000m/6.47nm) within 60 seconds.
Prior to May 2014 Malaysia claimed MH370 was seen on radar flying IGARI-VAMPI-GIVAL-IGREX, but when asked to produce radar tracking data for this could not do so.
In the Preliminary Accident Report published 1st May 2014, the report stated unequivocally that it was not seen on LUMPUR civil SSR radar after 1:21am until next seen in the Straits of Malacca on military radar. Malaysia could not or would not publish radar imagery for the mystery aircraft sighted in the Straights of Malacca, however on 21 March they displayed this image at the Lido Hotel in Beijing which they claimed showed MH370 in the Straits of Malacca:
By default therefore this image has become the de facto radar image for MH370's flight which incidentally does not show MH370 flying IGARI-VAMPI-GIVAL-IGREX.
This is part of that image with time stamps made clearer by focus sharpening tools:
Using the time stamp imagery it is now possible to calibrate that flight more precisely by measuring the time elapsed over known geographical points and then creating a calibration scale beside the track.
That calibration suggests that this aircraft flew over a small island, Pelau Perak at precisely 2:03am on a track leading back to the southwest tip of Palau Penang.
The preliminary accident report also notes MH370 was reported by Ho Chi Minh being lost over waypoint BITOD at a time which is inferred as 1:24am MYT. The Preliminary Accident Report issued by the Malaysian Government states unequivocally that it was lost from radar at BITOD.
This poses a serious problem since it appears to only allow MH370 39 minutes to return to Pelau Perak at the maximum speeds for low altitude flight.
This flight over a track distance of 338nm requires an average TAS airspeed of 520kt. Something which requires the aircraft to fly at altitudes where it would logically have to have been seen by several radar stations. Radar at Aceh and at Singapore must have seen MH370 flying west flying at 38,000ft yet they did not.
If MH370 flew west at these altitudes it should have been seen by at least half a dozen radar stations. Malaysia however claimed that it flew back at 5,000ft like a fighter plane to evade radar and flew low over Kota Bharu. How could it do all this if it had to maintain a speed only achievable at 38,000ft?
The air temperature at Kota Bharu was 22 deg C and there was a light nor-easterly breeze of between 5-10 knots.
VMO for a B777 with this surface temperature is 350 knots TAS at 5,000ft. At this altitude logically it could not have flown west within 39 minutes. Even if one is generous and allows that it turned back at IGARI affording another three minutes it still does not seem credible since the track would still require 54 minutes of flying.
So the question is how did this aircraft fly back west so fast without being seen?
Did it fly low, or did it fly high?
The captain of JAL750 reported he spoke with the co-pilot of MH370 by VHF just after 1:30am. He said all appeared normal when he spoke to MH370. JAL750 at that time was flying NE from Ho Chi Minh at 32,000ft.
JAL750 was at least 398nm away from IGARI. Had MH370 dropped to 5000ft and flown west it would have been out of VHF range to speak with JAL750. This image has a circle for the estimated radar horizon between JAL750 and another aircraft at 5,000ft.
I would appreciate if I someone could give a cohesive explanation for apparent inconsistencies in the official account?