Ladies and Gentlemen,
Although this aircraft may have crashed for a multitude of reasons, my guess is that the probable cause for this accident is the wing being ripped off the aircraft. This is why I say this.
The events so far, which we all know, are that there was no distress call and the plane suddenly disappears from radar, indications of a sudden catastrophic event.
According to the information on this particular aircraft, it appears that " a minor incident while taxiing at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in August 2012 resulted in significant damage to one of it's wingtips which broke off while striking the tail of another plane" See Wikipedia "Malaysia Airlines Flight 370" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Airlines_Flight_370
It is very likely that if the repairs to the wing in August 2012 was incorrectly or incompletely done, although the aircraft had successfully completed many flights after the incident, over time the improper repairs may have caused increased metal fatigue to the joints connecting the wings to the fuselage.
This may have resulted in the wing finally giving way and breaking off from the fuselage. This is especially so in the case of the wing which has to withstand a great deal of stress, in flight and turbulence.
Although initially after the repairs, assuming they were faulty, the wing was able to hold, the repeated flights after the repairs in 2012 may have increased the damage due to the initial incorrect repair.
An example of this was in the case of Flight JAL 123. In 1978 this Boeing 747 Jumbo suffered a tail strike (pilot raising the nose of the aircraft too high during take off resulting in the tail hitting the runway) while take off from Osaka International. The flight was successfully completed without incident and the aircraft was sent in for repairs. These repairs were done incorrectly, but even so the aircraft managed to fly without incident for the next 7 years until 1985.
In 1985, 7 years after the incident, it was scheduled to fly from Tokyo Haneda to Osaka International. About 12 minutes into the flight, the aft bulkhead gave way and the aircraft lost pressure. The tail (vertical stabilizer) was ripped off. Unable to maintain level flight, the plane crashed killing over 500 passengers.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the damage to the tail of the aircraft was directly attributed to the earlier faulty repairs. Here too, although this aircraft had managed to make many successful flights over the 7 years since the faulty repairs, eventually the damaged area got worse and it blew off. See wiki Japan Airlines Flight 123 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Airlines_Flight_123
This accident pattern appears directly similar to that of MH 370. You have a catastrophic incident, indicating a probable wing being ripped off in mid air.
Additional information also increases this possibility. It appears the pilot of MH 370 tried to turn around, presumably to head back to Kuala Lumpur. This is probably because his cockpit instruments may have indicated a damage to the wing, and since he is only an hour or so from Kuala Lumpur, he may have tried to head back. This probably increased the chances of the accident.
An aircraft wings while banking increases the stress on the wings, unlike in level flight. And furthermore, in his hurry to turn back, he may have entered a steep bank which increases even further the stress on the wings. This turning may have been the straw that broke the camel's back resulting in the wing being ripped off entirely. Perhaps it may have been better for him, on hindsight, instead of turning, to hope for the best and continue on level flight to Beijing and request a straight in approach for landing.
I think what the authorities should be doing now is to look into the maintenance records of this aircraft to see if the 2012 wingtip incident at Shanghai was properly repaired.
I guess either the pilot did not have the time to radio the distress call or the accident was too sudden he simply did not realize the impending catastrophe.
There is also a report from an unidentified pilot in the vicinity that at the request of Vietnam Air Traffic Center, he did make contact with the KH 370 requesting that he make contact with Vietnam's ATC.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 8525