Last updated Saturday, November 01, 2014 08:50am

Military officers Phung Truong Son (left), Vu Duc Long (centre) and Pham Minh Tuan discuss a map of a search area before their departure to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a military airport in Ho Chi Minh city March 14, 2014. — ReutMilitary officers Phung Truong Son (left), Vu Duc Long (centre) and Pham Minh Tuan discuss a map of a search area before their departure to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a military airport in Ho Chi Minh city March 14, 2014. — ReutKUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — The pilots of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 should be able to land the large Boeing 777-200 ER on shorter runways if they have the skills required, an aviation expert said.

Mustapha Kamal Abdul Rahman, who was a former Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) traffic controller, said that pilots would always try to land safely during emergencies, noting that the runway for a Boeing 777-200ER jumbo jet has to be at least 11,000 feet or 3.35 kilometres long.

“All the aircrafts would have the required landing procedure to prevent any accidents.

“Therefore, the long and large MH370 aircraft needs to land at a runway that is over 11,000 feet long,” he was quoted as saying by local daily Sinar Harian today when commenting on the plane's ability to land on short runways during emergencies.

Mustapha also agreed that skilful pilots could land the MH370 plane on disused runways on a few islands, but noted that there was a risk of minor accidents such as the plane skidding off the runway or imbalance due to a sudden halt.

But Dr Mohd Tarmizi Ahmad, an aviation expert from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), spoke about the high risks of a plane crashing when trying to land on short runways.

“Because the plane needs power and time to make a landing based on the aircraft's capacity.

“If the momentum is not stable, the possibilities of a plane having an accident even when on the runway is very high,” he was quoted saying by Sinar Harian.

Yesterday, Malay-language daily Berita Harian reported that investigators have discovered the runways of five airports near the Indian Ocean loaded into Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s home-made flight simulator.

An unnamed source told Berita Harian that while it was too early to make any conclusions on the new finding, it was still considered an important element in the probe on the whereabouts of the plane and its 239 people.

In the Gallery


  • Peter Chong holds a smartphone displaying a picture of himself with missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah (right) during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Sepang March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A child leaves a message of support for family members and passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Pakistani Christian girl holds a candle to pray for the passengers and crew members of the missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370 in Islamabad March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Pakistani Christians hold candles to pray for the passengers and crew members of the missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, in Islamabad March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • People turn the lights of their phones towards the sky during a special event and prayer for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Women pray during a special event for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Messages of support are hung during a special event for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • People attend a special event for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Relatives of passengers onboard missing flight MH370 complain to an official from Malaysia Airlines after the company's briefing to family members at a hotel in Beijing March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger onboard missing flight MH370 is seen through a door while he waits for news at a hotel in Beijing March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger onboard the missing flight MH370 is seen through a door while he waits for news at a hotel in Beijing March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A poem (top) for missing flight MH370 and announcements from Malaysia Airlines are attached on a pillar of a room for family members and friends of passengers onboard the flight at a hotel in Beijing March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger onboard the missing flight MH370 asks questions to officials from Malaysia Airlines during the company's briefing to family members at a hotel in Beijing March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman writes a message on a board dedicated to passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, in Petaling Jaya March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Visitors write well-wishes for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family, in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A visitor hangs a card with well-wishes for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their families, in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman walks past screens showing flight information and a ‘Pray for MH370’ sign at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A combination photo shows various artwork put up by members of the public for missing MH370 at a viewing gallery in KLIA March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Chinese family member of a passenger onboard the missing MH370 screams outside the media conference area at a hotel in Sepang March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Chinese family member of a passenger onboard the missing MH370 screams as she is being brought into a room at a hotel near KLIA March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Chinese family member (red shirt) of a missing MH370 passenger is escorted away from the media at a hotel near KLIA March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Chinese family member of a missing MH370 passenger is escorted away from the media at a hotel near KLIA March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Chinese family member of a missing MH370 passenger is escorted away from the media at a hotel near KLIA March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Chinese family members of passengers onboard the missing MH370 are escorted away from the media at a hotel, near KLIA March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A journalist breaks free from the police who stopped media chasing after Chinese family members of passengers onboard the missing MH370 at a hotel near KLIA March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Police block reporters from following Chinese family members of the missing MH370 passengers at a hotel near KLIA March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman holds a candle during a special prayer for passengers onboard missing MH370 in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman holds a candle during a special prayer for passengers onboard missing MH370 in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Malaysian women hold candles during a special prayer for passengers onboard missing MH370 in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Malaysians hold candles during a special prayer for passengers onboard the missing MH370 in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • An image in support of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is seen on the Umno building in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2014. — Reuters pic

The runways were said to be based on those of the Male International Airport in Maldives, the Diego Garcia base owned by the US, and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, which are all at least 1km long.

The police had seized the flight simulator from the 53-year-old pilot’s house in Shah Alam on Saturday and reassembled it at the police headquarters where experts are conducting checks.

The authorities are also conducting background checks on all passengers and crew members of the MH370 flight which carried 239 people and has been missing since March 8.

The search by 26 countries is focused on two areas - the northern corridor which will largely be a land search crossing several countries stretching from Thailand to Kazakhstan, while the southern corridor covers an arc that extends from the southern tip of Sumatra towards the Indian Ocean.