As a jet pilot for 20 years, I look at the MH-17 shoot-down very differently than the public does. MAS (Malaysian Air Service; parent of Malaysian Airlines) was nuts to flight plan this flight only a mere 1,000 feet over an unsafe war zone!
I’ve flown airliners in war zones and conflicts before. Anything can happen. In Desert Storm all our radios quit working (jammed by somebody) and we couldn’t communicate at all. So I wasn’t going to fly close to Iran which popped up immediately after takeoff, and did a wild maneuver over the shore at low altitude to get away from any shore missiles that may have caused this. The captain asked: “Do you know where you are going?” I said: “I have no idea, but I’m not flying the assigned runway heading anymore; since those bluffs on the shore are Iran batteries. The Captain agreed with me, and as I was jetting across Saudi Arabia without any permission, it took some time for him to re-establish communications with ATC on HF radio and get a clearance back to Dubia.
MH-17 was off the flight planned airway for some reason, over a hot war were mobile missile operators can’t tell the difference between an airliner and a bomber sent to do them in. Certain posters here keep screaming “The Ukrainians did it”, but without specific raw data radar data and ATC tapes, it’s impossible for anyone to make such a claim. The other B-777, MH370 to disappear over the South China Sea has a lot in common with this shoot-down. MH370 was off the airway also for unknown reasons over the dueling warships contesting the waters of the South China Sea. An Australian eye-witness on an oil rig saw the flight get hit, break up and crash into the South China Sea. He alerted his company who called all the countries in the region to alert them to the crash position. No one ever returned their calls. No one was interested, it seems, since a bunch of flaky cell phone satellites acars data suggested it flew backwards over Malaysia and into the Indian Ocean.
The moral of the story is don’t fly your flights off airways and don’t fly over warships and missile launchers!