Last week, we wrote about pilot and author Bruce Gernon’s contention that Flight 370 might’ve encountered ‘electronic fog,’ a mysterious phenomenon linked with the Bermuda Triangle. Now Bruce has written an article expanding on his theory and describing what might’ve happened in the cockpit of the Boing 777.
+ + +
I call it Electronic Fog. I have been researching this phenomenon since 1970. I have communicated with over 100 people that have experienced it. I have experienced it twice while flying my airplane. I can relate my research and what I experienced to the disappearance of the Malaysian plane.
The electronic fog is created in horizontal tunnels that form between thunderstorm cells. They are usually about two miles high and last for about 5 minutes. When they collapse they emit a puff of fog that can last for many hours after the storms have dissipated. The fog can drift all the way down to earth and on rare occasions an updraft can lift the fog to higher altitudes. If an aircraft flies through the electronic fog it can attach itself to the aircraft, similar to St. Elmo’s fire.
This may have happened to the Malaysian flight 370, as I will explain.
There have been other famous flights that have had similar experiences. In 1928 Charles Lindbergh was near Bimini when he encountered the electronic fog. He did not tell anyone about it for 42 years so it must have had an impact on his mind. He wrote about it in his last book just before he died because he thought it would be important for the world to know. His compass was spinning so he wasn’t sure of his heading.
He flew as high as he could get, trying to get above the fog with no success. Then he flew just above the ocean trying to get under it with no success. He flew for two hours before he was able to figure out which way was west by seeing that the right side of the fog was brighter because the sun was rising from the east. He then turned west and flew for another two hours. When he reached the coast of Florida the fog finally disappeared.
In 1945 five Navy bombers out of Ft. Lauderdale were flying in formation near Bimini when they encountered the electronic fog. They radioed Ft. Lauderdale tower at 3:30 PM they were not sure of their position—something was wrong. They were all unable to determine which way was west to head back to Florida. They each had a compass and one electronic navigational instrument but apparently none of them were working properly. They made a series of turns and became totally disoriented. They kept flying for over six hours and finally ended up hundreds of miles from any land in the Atlantic Ocean where they were finally identified by radar. A huge search team could not find any remains of them.
Exactly 25 years later, less one day, I was flying near Bimini when the electronic fog attached itself to my aircraft. I radioed Miami radio at 3:30 PM that I wasn’t sure of my position—something was wrong. My compass was spinning and my 3 electronic navigational instruments were mal-functioning. I had entered a horizontal tunnel that was aiming for Miami. It was 10,000 feet high and about ten miles long and 100 miles east of Miami. I was in the tunnel for about 20 seconds then the electronic fog attached itself to the airplane when I exited the tunnel. When I contacted Miami Radar Center they were unable to contact us on radar even though we had just installed a new transponder. I slowed the plane down and maintained the same heading, never turning. Three minutes after leaving the tunnel I reached the shore of Miami and the electronic fog electronically dissipated in about ten seconds. I looked behind expecting to see a fog bank and there were only clear skies. All the instruments started working again so I flew back to our home airport. I landed 30 minutes ahead of time. Somehow I traveled 100 miles in only three minutes and 20 seconds.
In 1986 Martin Caidin had one of the best documented encounters with electronic fog. He was a famous science fiction author who wrote over a hundred books, including many on aviation. He was flying a large twin engine Catalina PBY flying boat. There were seven people on board. All of them were professional caliber pilots. They departed Bermuda in clear weather heading to Jacksonville. Shortly after take off the electronic fog attached itself to them in an instant.
All of their electronic instruments went out including their radios. Their whiskey compass was spinning. They tried to maintain their west heading by aiming away from the sunny side of the fog. They climbed up to 8000 feet but couldn’t get above it. They descended to sea level,but couldn’t get under it. They continued for three more hours and when they got close to the Florida shore line the fog disappeared and skies were clear all around them.
Caidin wrote about this flight on three separate occasions. He knew they experienced something significant that could be dangerous for pilots. He said the flying boat was enveloped by an intense electromagnetic field that dumped the instruments and blanked out the electronic equipment. He said it was like flying inside a milk bottle. He never realized the milk bottle was attached to them.
Now for the Malaysian flight.
The first indication the airliner may have been in trouble was when the co-pilot signed off from Malaysian air traffic control. He said, “All right, good night.” Normally he would say something like “Malaysian 370 contacting Viet Nam at 128.4 thank you goodnight.” Maybe the electronic fog had just attached itself to the aircraft so he cut the procedure short. They never contacted Viet Nam airspace and strange things started happening immediately after that last call. The fog can disable the radios. The Boeing 777 has a glass panel cockpit. All the panels could have turned off and turned blank. The pilots would have no idea of their exact heading because even the whisky compass would be spinning. They would have to rely on their mechanical backup instruments to maintain control. They are the altimeter, the airspeed indicator and the attitude indicator.
They made about 120 degree turn to the left apparently trying to aim for the nearest airport. It appears they went up higher trying to get above the fog and down lower trying to get below the fog but it did not detach. When the time came to the point where they should be able to identify the airport there was no visibility. They may have made some more turns and that would have disoriented them to the point where they were not sure of their heading anymore. Pilots in the electronic fog often go through a series of turns, then became spatially disoriented, and enter what is known as a graveyard spiral, that always ends in death.
The Malaysian 370 pilots may have been able to control the autopilot, but the heading would have to be controlled by their input. After going through a series of turns they probably became disoriented and did something similar to Flight 19. They just continued until they ran out of fuel. Also, like Flight 19, they unfortunately aimed for a remote location over the ocean where they may never be found.
It seems like every other decade there has been a significant encounter with the mysterious electronic fog. Mainstream science has not yet recognized the existence of electronic fog so it is not even being considered as a possibility with the mystery of the Malaysian airliner. It is a rare phenomenon and I know it is real because I have seen it and talked to others that have experienced it. No one has been able to debunk my experience in over 43 years.
Could this be what happened to the Malaysian airliner? Only time will tell. So far everything we know about the flight seems to point in that direction.
People are starting to ask if this has anything to do with the Bermuda Triangle mystery. Over the years I have worked with many scientists, many of them famous. They all believed that the phenomenon of electronic fog is plausible. My latest partner in research is professor David Pares. My friend, the late great scientist and author Dr. Arthur C. Clarke, said that the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine, and the only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them, into the impossible.