An FBI lab in Virginia is awaiting the arrival of a flight simulator used by the pilot of the Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared earlier this month. Authorities hope that there may be information on the simulator that could be useful in helping investigators determine the whereabouts of the missing plane.
Malaysian officials have requested the assistance of FBI agents who are currently in Kuala Lumpur in retrieving information from the simulators as well as in conducting analysis of the files that it contains. According to Malaysian police, files on the simulator were deleted in early February but are recoverable, and the FBI is expected to play a major role in the recovery and analysis of the information in the files.
Malaysian authorities would likely be given the information recovered from the files first, before any other agency. Regardless of who gets first crack at the information, there is no way to tell at this point whether or not any information gleaned from the simulator would prove useful.
Some speculation has arisen regarding the reasons why the pilot would have deleted the files roughly one month before the plane went missing. However, FBI and other officials have stated that the deletion of files is not necessarily cause for suspicion. It is entirely possible that the files were deleted because they were taking up too much memory space.
Despite their requests for assistance, Malaysian authorities have thus far kept the FBI at arm’s length in terms of its involvement in the investigation. After the team of agents dispatched to Kuala Lumpur went through the initial reports, however, those authorities became much more willing to allow the Bureau to become more involved.
The Bureau is using state-of-the-art “link-assist” technology to match flight and passenger information contained in certain databases with names on the flight manifest to determine possible foul play, but to this point nothing has been found.