Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Web tribute page lauds MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 March, 2014, 6:05am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 March, 2014, 6:05pm

An anonymous writer who knew the captain at the controls of the missing Flight 370 aircraft launched a tribute page rejecting accusations against the veteran pilot.

Those close to Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, with 18,365 flying hours under his belt in a 33-year career, hastily released an information page for people to know him better in a bid to avoid a character assassination against his professional record.

Entitled "Who exactly is Malaysia Airlines Captain Zaharie Shah of MH370", the unidentified author of the page wrote: "The brave pilot of MH370 must not go unnoticed. We find out just how passionate Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is about flying."

The tribute page described the former Penang Free School student as a trustworthy and reliable pilot with more than 18,000 flying hours. It added: "It is very unfortunate that he was involved in the tragic MH370 accident."

Please don't make any assumptions ... Right now let's just pray they are safe
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It cast a light of being passionate about flying and of aviation. "Even when not piloting the massive Boeing 777, he flies remote-controlled aircraft," the author said.

Any suggestion that missing Flight 370 was found to be caused by pilot error was wrong, and the tribute page would provide evidence showing that it was extremely unlikely that it was the case, the author continued. Attempts to contact the owner of the page were unsuccessful.

Pictures obtained by the author come from Shah's own social media channels, which provide some insights into his life outside of the cockpit.

The images show a penchant for flying remote-controlled aircraft, as shown by photos sourced from his Facebook page. Among his collection are a lightweight, twin-engine helicopter and an amphibious aircraft. One image shows an elaborate cockpit mock-up of a Boeing 777 flight simulator system he owned, designed to take "his passion" to the "next level of simulation". Another image captures him sitting at his home-made system.

The author's pictures suggest, regardless of whether Shah was wearing his pilot's uniform, that he was passionate about flying - for real or simulated. The page ended with a salvo at potential critics. "We think that this man deserves all our respect."

Other than aviation, a YouTube channel under the name of "Zaharie Shah" shows uploaded videos with useful tips to fix appliances inside the home.

Shah is also pictured to be a creative amateur chef which, according to the author, indicated he was "sharing different dishes for those around him just like a true Malaysian and Penangite".

Among his kitchen creations are noodles known as bihun; butter prawns, curry fish and broccoli mushroom; and a fried tofu dish called sambal tahu.

Hundreds of comments have been posted, with the first made 12 hours after the plane departed for Beijing.

The majority of netizens expressed sadness and shock at the missing aircraft, and left messages of support, including: "Whatever it is he is a brave man ... and it is a pilot priority to save all his passengers life."

Another said: "Please don't make any assumptions unless we all are being informed on the real situation. Rest in peace is used only if we are sure that the plane crashed or whatsoever. Right now let's just pray they are safe."