Flight 370 Mystery: Did Pilots Steal the Plane?

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March 17 (Bloomberg) -- The weeklong search for a missing passenger jet shifted toward the Indian Ocean as Malaysia’s prime minister agreed with investigators that the aircraft was intentionally diverted. Former American Airlines CEO Bob Crandall speaks on Bloomberg Television's “Bloomberg Surveillance.” (Source: Bloomberg)

We usually focus on safety of the aircraft, but what is done here in this country to ensure that pilots are both safe and sane?

Well, i'm not sure that we do much by way of the sanity checking.

The fact of the matter is, everyone who flies commercially in the united states is carefully vetted, but that vetting is simply -- you go through persons background.

Typically, these people that fly for the airlines have gone through, if not from the military academies, at least from the military itself, have a long and well known history.

They have been flying commercially, in most cases, for many years.

The fact if in turn this turns out to be a consequence of some deliberate act from the cockpit, i think would be very surprising.

Bob, you said you think would be surprising if the pilots acted deliberately?

Yes, i think, of course, anything is possible, but based on what you read in the press, they didn't make any particular effort to fly together.

The notion there would be collaboration between the two of them to somehow steal the airplane, is what is being suggested -- you know, that is a pretty far reach, in my mind.

Bob crandall, experienced with the neck and airlines.

Richard falk and rats working with us as well.

-- richard falcon rat, with the silence that is out there now, what is our polity of satellite reconnaissance?

When we say x number of nations will have satellite data, what does that mean?

For the u.s., it is excellent if you task the satellites to look at a particular area.

That is key.

They need to be re-prioritized.

U.s. government does it all the time when it goes to war.

My expectation is many of the satellites are normally watching global hotspots are now looking at -- what is the distinction of depth of ocean?

Can a satellite see something where it is shallow, but much more problematic in the indian ocean?

It would have to be shallow.

It it is deep, like the indian ocean, no way.

You seemed to be saying the pilots probably did not have a role in it.

When he hear things like the plane would have to 45,000 feet and went down again then up again, what is the only reason why that would happen?

You know, we spoke a week ago and i said at the time and i say again now, that one of the things experienced aviation people know is it is a whole lot better not to speculate.

When we finally find the answers to aviation the limits of this kind among the most always find there are things we had absolutely no anticipation or expectation of.

The fact of the matter is, i don't know what has happened here.

Nobody else knows.

We are not going to know and we find the airplane or the remains of the airplane.

That is a great point, trying to avoid speculation.

Richard faulkenrath, speculation aside, what happens now?

There's a physical search that is expanding.

Australia is in the lead.

The investigation is looking at the human dimension.

On that dimension, we want to get to the bottom of this particular investigation, but there's a larger question is, was this a one-off or some part of larger conspiracy?

When you're in counterterrorism and the intelligence business, it if it -- if it is part of a larger conspiracy, if they were not acting alone and had a support network, that is what you're worried about.

David kirkpatrick with this as well.

Our modern aircraft don't use technology that is modern enough.

There are a lot of systems that could be used routinely in international and mystic aviation that many of us actually use in our smartphones -- such as?

Gps systems that are routine, are not utilized currently in air traffic control system and airplanes.

A lot of pilots who are techies in the last few weeks have been posting and writing blogs, etc., saying they're shocked at how primitive the technology is on modern aircraft will stop particularly, will time telemetry up into satellites is not done that could be done.

It is expensive.

One of the measures we did on 9/11 is low-tech and i think it had unintended consequences.

Harding of the doors.

Faa mandated that in 2003 and it has now become a global standard.

They may have had an unintended consequence of allowing one pilot to lock them out.

. crandall remembers when it was a curtain.

It was a curtain between the pilots.

You any right brothers, they did not even have a curtain.

Do you like the cockpit doors today?

Do i like the cockpit doors story?

The fact is, i think the hardened cockpit doors were a good idea.

When they are used as there used routinely, solely by the u.s. carriers, i think they add a real sense of security.

The cockpit is very difficult to get into.

Now, all of the speculation, again, that somehow one pilot locked the other one out of the cockpit, once again, all of those were speculating it are doing themselves and the rest of us a disservice.

Let's wait until we find out what happened.

Wrapping it up, richard come in terms of speculation.

I'm curious about what we don't know.

What are authorities not talking about right now?

There is a lot.

We know very little.

I think bob is right.

The number of facts that are out there is far fewer than the volume of speculation going on.

We do don't know the background of these individuals.

Every single person on that plane will have had all of their electronic you medications analyzed by the u.s. intelligence service.

We do not know who they were with yet that hasn't come out.

We don't know where their travel to.

Any links to any criminal or terrorist organizations, none of that is known.

Bob crandall, thank you for joining us.

You ran american for 20 years -- nearly 20 or.

The question richard just raised about various types of telemetry and other uplinks to satellites that aren't being used.

Is it time for airlines to examine that cost issue and be willing to take down margins in order to make sure everything is done to ensure security?

I think there are two points.

Number one, airlines are not going to take down margins.

Airlines are simply going to pass the cost along to customers -- as they should.

Secondly, it is time for both the airline industry and governments to take a very careful look at why we don't you quit our airplanes properly.

I would called everybody's attention, we've still got -- we're using in the u.s., and outmoded air-traffic control system.

It should have been replaced 10 years ago, and we're still struggling with how to finance it.

Bob crandall, thank you for

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