Missing jet: Pilot’s simulator sent abroad for probe

Kuala Lumpur, March 21: The flight simulator found at the residence of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who commanded the missing Malaysian jet, has been sent to international investigators for further verification, Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Friday.

“As far as the simulator is concerned, we have forwarded the information to international parties to verify, and very shortly I believe the inspector-general of police will be able to give information of the current situation,” he told a daily press briefing Friday.

All the game logs in the personal flight simulator of Captain Shah were deleted Feb 3, a senior police official said Wednesday.

The Malaysian police have replicated the flight simulator found in Zaharie’s residence hoping to find clues if the pilot had practised landing on his home flight simulator at airports located in areas where the search is being conducted.

The flight simulator was built by Captain Zaharie himself in November 2012. It had been made with off-the-shelf computer hardware including an ASUS Direct CUII and Rampage IV Extreme motherboard and six flat-screen monitors.

The simulator can re-create almost 20,000 airports worldwide and all routes flown can be saved on a hard-disk. Many of the controls are simplified, but the simulator provides basic features that recreate some of what an actual pilot experiences.

According to reports, three games — Flight Simulator X, Flight Simulator 9 and X Flight Simulator — were found in the captain’s personal simulator.

The police searched Shah’s house soon after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed last week that the plane was suspected to have been diverted deliberately.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 227 passengers included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City.

The search for the missing plane is now concentrated over a 23,000 sq km area in the southern Indian Ocean.