Missing jet's pilot trained in Philippines
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - March 12, 2014 - 9:20am

MANILA, Philippines — One of the pilots of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 jet spent some time training in the country before joining the Malaysian Flag carrier.

Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 52, studied aviation as a cadet under the Philippine Airlines Aviation School in Pasay City from 1980 to 1981, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Penang native joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981 and was promoted to the rank of captain in the 1990s.

To date, the senior pilot has 18,365 flying hours under his belt, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement.

Live blog: Search for missing Malaysia plane

Zaharie was then known to be a "passionate aviator" and well-liked by his colleagues.

He even built a Boeing 777 simulator at home, which "cost a lot of money," according to his friend as quoted in the report.

Last Saturday, Zaharie manned the cockpit of Flight MH370 which disappeared from the radar on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

Flying with him was First Officer Fariq Ab.Hamid, 27, who joined the airlines in 2007.

Search operations have been launched by neighboring countries but have not yet located the aircraft as of posting time. The plane was carrying 239 people.

Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah

CAPT FIRST OFFICER FARIQ AB KUALA LUMPUR LAST SATURDAY MALAYSIA AIRLINES MALAYSIA AIRLINES BOEING MALAYSIAN FLAG PASAY CITY PHILIPPINE AIRLINES AVIATION SCHOOL ZAHARIE AHMAD SHAH
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