American officials are now saying that the first sharp westward turn taken by missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was programmed into a computer system, most likely by someone in the cockpit, furthering suspicion that the plane was hijacked by a member of the airline's crew. At the very least, it would have to be someone with extensive flying experience and working knowledge of the plane's systems.
According to the New York Times, the plane's Flight Management System was reprogrammed either in the air or before takeoff by someone with knowledge of how the plane works:
Instead of manually operating the plane’s controls, whoever altered Flight 370’s path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer, according to officials. The Flight Management System, as the computer is known, directs the plane from point to point specified in the flight plan submitted before a flight.
Unnamed officials told the Times that it's not unusual to reprogram the plane's route, in order to avoid bad weather or air traffic, by entering codes representing different waypoints — geographic markers pilots can identify by sight and use to navigate. Other sources have previously reported that whoever flew MH370 off course was using such waypoints.