Local pilot shares perspective on Malaysia flight tragedy

Retired pilot Jerry Myhre can imagine frantic final moments on Flight 370.

“He probably had a fire on board,” he said. “He probably had a hole in the airplane. Rapid decompression, it really gets confusing.”

The Geneseo man has decades of experience as a commercial, corporate and Air Force pilot. He thinks that a fire, possibly started by lithium batteries, set off a catastrophic chain of events.

“The lights go off,” he said. “The auto pilot goes off. You lose radios.”

While watching search coverage on Monday, he says that fire is a pilot’s worst enemy.

“You could have blown a hole through the side of the fuselage,” he said. “Now, you have a second problem.”

While pilots train for catastrophes in simulators, a real-life emergency is unpredictable and sometimes impossible to correct.

Myhre speculates that the pilot turned the plane to try to land at a nearby airport.

“He knew that approach to the southwest,” Myhre said. “I assume he was trying to do that.”

While investigators hope to find the black box, he suggests that more frequent monitoring could help.

“Just (show) the location every 15 minutes,” he continued. “Man, you just minimized this search area.”

All of this is hard to take for the former United Airlines Airbus pilot.

“It’s frustrating we haven’t found out yet,” he said.

As details continue to emerge in coming days and weeks, there will be lessons for pilots.

“We always learn from accidents,” Myhre concluded. “That’s how the book gets written. What happened last time, let’s fix it so it doesn’t happen again.”

A pilot’s perspective in the search for answers.

Get more of our coverage of the missing plane – click here.

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