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MH370 pilot simulator used to 'practice' jet flight, waiting for search approval

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News of an MH370 pilot using a flight simulator to “practice” jet flights throughout isolated areas of the Indian Ocean is the latest update in the mystery of the missing plane. The discovery that the pilot took recent virtual trips before the fateful departure does not necessarily mark him as a major target behind the Malaysia Airlines disappearance, but it is a lead that investigators are now examining. The Bayou Buzz also reports this Tuesday, June 24, that Australian authorities are waiting for approval from Malaysian officials before launching a new search based on restructured data.

Although it may sound like one of the latest Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappearance theories, an MH370 pilot simulator could be an important key to solving this tragic vanishing act. Correspondents from NBC News have confirmed that Malaysian pilot Zaharie Shah, age 53, had deleted files of virtual flight paths performed on his personal simulator. Investigators have said that these “practice” journeys might shed greater light on the whereabouts of the missing plane, or at least send formal search teams in the right direction.

So does this latest turn in the MH370 mystery point to pilot Shah as the chief suspect in the loss of the fully booked Boeing flight? It’s very possible, yet officials looking into the case did report that the pilot organized numerous other virtual trips on his simulator that took place away from the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, the investigators said that the files recovered so far “did not appear [to show] any patterns.” So it remains to be determined whether this simulator discovery will lead to anything substantial, or if it is simply a red herring.

CNN also reveals that Australian officials are currently waiting on approval from Malaysian Airlines authorities before conducting a new search in a more southwestern area of the foreign waters. New data pertaining to Flight 370 said to be “relevant to the search analysis” is expected to be revealed later this week. However, the commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Martin Dolan, also announced that "before we release, we have to talk with the Malaysians who are responsible for the overall investigation."

The Australian agency is said to be the driving force behind underwater attempts to the missing plane. They hope to begin the formal search early this fall 2014, but will require full endorsement from Malaysia beforehand. The area is expected to shift significantly south in the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles closer to the Equator than before. There is also evidence pointing to the possibility of the plane running out of fuel and being set on a controlled flight.

"We are waiting for the Malaysians to get back to us on that," Dolan announced this Tuesday. "I suspect we will know when within the next 24 hours."

It is hopeful that the most recent information regarding the disappearance of MH370 will yield some answers to what can only be considered one of the most prominent aviation mysteries in modern history. Do you believe that the pilot simulator update will play an important role in the Flight 370 investigation, or that pilot Zaharie Shah could be a suspect in the ongoing case?

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