Captain Zaharie Shah/Official Profile

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MH370 Pilot-In-Command Official Profile

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was the Pilot-In-Command (PIC) on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which went missing on Saturday, 8 March 2014.

This article reproduces the official profile of the Pilot-In-Command from the Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018 .

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1.5.3 Pilot-in-Command

The PIC was born in the Island of Penang. He completed his Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) - the equivalent of the United Kingdom Ordinary (UK ‘O’) Level - at the Penang Free School, where he sat for his MCE Examination in 1978. In 1981 he was accepted as a Cadet Pilot with MAS under the sponsorship of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), a People’s Trust Council of the Malaysian Government.

1) Personal Profile of Pilot-in-Command

Sex Male
Age 53 years
Marital Status Married with 3 children
Date of joining MAS 15 June 1981
Licence country of issues Malaysia
Licence type Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL)
Licence number A751
Validity Period of Licence 14 May 2014
Ratings Boeing B777
Medical Certificate First Class (valid until 30 June 2014)
Aeronautical experience 18423:40 hours
Experience on type 8659:40 hours
Last 24 hours 0:00:00 hours
Last 72 hours 07:00:00 hours
Last 07 days 20:39:00 hours
Last 28 days 91:04:00 hours
Last 90 days 303:09:00 hours
Last line check 08 April 2013
Instrument rating check 15 November 2013
Last proficiency 15 November 2013
Last promotion B777 Captain (22 September 1998)

The PIC was sent to Manila in the Philippines to be provided ab-initio pilot training and graduated 2 years later with a Commercial Pilot Licence & Instrument Rating (CPL & IR). He joined MAS as a Second Officer in 1983 and was posted on the F27 where he obtained his initial airline flying experience. He was then posted to the B737-200 in 1985, thereafter the A300B4, and stayed on as First Officer (FO) until March 1990. In July 1990 he was promoted to captain and took his first command on the F50 aircraft.

By the end of 1991 he was promoted to Captain on the B737-400 until December 1996. His next promotion was to the A330-300 and stayed on the fleet until September 1998 when he was promoted to the B777- 200ER fleet until the day of the event. By virtue of his good track record and seniority he was made a Type Rating Instructor (TRI) and Type Rating Examiner (TRE) on this present fleet effective November 2007.

The PIC’s flying record for the last 72 hours and preceding 28 days’ cycle were well within the Company’s specified limits. His last flight as an operating PIC was to Denpasar, Bali, in the Republic of Indonesia on 03 March 2014. This was a daily return flight with a sector time of approximately 3 hours. On the day of the event, he was conducting training for the FO who was functionally checked out.

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2) Royal Malaysia Police’s Report on Flight Simulator of PIC

The Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) seized the PIC’s home flight simulator from the residence of the PIC on 15 March 2014.

The RMP Forensic Report dated 19 May 2014 documented more than 2,700 coordinates retrieved from separate file fragments and most of them are default game coordinates.

It was also discovered that there were seven ‘manually programmed’ waypoint4 coordinates (Figure 1.5A below), that when connected together, will create a flight path from KLIA to an area south of the Indian Ocean through the Andaman Sea. These coordinates were stored in the Volume Shadow Information (VSI) file dated 03 February 2014. The function of this file was to save information when a computer is left idle for more than 15 minutes. Hence, the RMP Forensic Report could not determine if the waypoints came from one or more files.

The RMP Forensic Report on the simulator also did not find any data that showed the aircraft was performing climb, attitude or heading manoeuvres, nor did they find any data that showed a similar route flown by MH370.

The RMP Forensic Report concluded that there were no unusual activities other than game-related flight simulations.


4 ‘Manually programmed waypoints’ - Manually programmed waypoints are waypoints that are not published in Airway Charts

Figure 1.5A - Snapshot of Seven Manually Programmed ‘Waypoints’

Figure 1.5A - Snapshot of Seven Manually Programmed ‘Waypoints’
Source: Royal Malaysia Police

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Source: Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370, 02 July 2018, Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018

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