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True Nick, but we're talking about an airplane with redundancy out the wazoo, which makes the odds of a complete failure exponentially less likely.
Thanks for the experienced analysis DTW. If it's true that the two passport thieves bought tickets with cash for a previous flight, then didn't fly, or ask for a refund, then rebooked on the vanished 777, one could surmise that the first run was a trial to see if the stolen passports were going to create an issue. Perhaps they watched it from afar, when it was obvious that it wasn't going to be a problem, they booked again with cash and made the trip.
If it is still in one piece somewhere being retooled for evil, you would think that they'd have to do a quick turn because you have to believe that every satellite that can read the label on a golfball is looking for an errant 777 sitting someplace. You could probably convince the pilots to land somewhere on the off chance they might be deluded enough to think they'd be let go, but it seems highly unlikely anyone could convince them to fly the aircraft out knowing what they'd know. One has to wonder, what with the aircraft in hand and that much fuel left, why they just didn't proceed to a target at that point. The logistics of landing it, hiding it, refueling it and whatever else they wanted to use to weaponize it, sure would raise the chances of being noticed.
An attack on US soil would be a real stretch wouldn't it? Seems that we'd be vigilant enough to notice the signature of something like that off shore long before it could complete it's mission. That would lead one to theorize that it's target would have to be somewhere in that part of the world, and pretty shortly after departure, because the second they are detected and fighters scramble, they are going to get blown out of the sky. A Triple 7 aimed for a major metropolitan area at the right time of day would make 9/11 look like a walk in the park. Great times we live in.
Would love for Dazz to weigh in on this with all his experience in that part of the world.