Commercial airplanes are designed to fly at very high altitudes as the air becomes thinner they high they go which means they don’t use as much fuel. Most planes fly below 40,000 feet (30,000 to 35,000ft) as this is the FAA requirement. But, the planes are still physically capable of flying higher. I have flown on a Lear 45 jet cruising at 49,000 feet as that aircraft has special permission from the FAA and the required safety equipment and procedures.
We know that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) climbed to 45,000 feet immediately after it changed course. At 35,000 feet in an airplane, people will lose consciousness in 20 seconds. At 45,000 in only a few seconds. Without oxygen for over a few minutes, they will die. All airplanes have an automatic feature to drop oxygen masks in case of loss of cabin pressure. However, the pilots can manual turn this off.
So, what does this mean? Unless the flight is found and the Black Box recovered, we will never know. Its a known fact the pilots, or someone, was in control of the plane and turned off the communications equipment. We know too that the plane took a steep but controlled climb to 45,000 feet. Again, somebody in control. Its not clear not long the aircraft stayed at 45,000
Complete Summary of Flight 370: ANC’s News Tracker