The plane in the picture has been flying over Haringey / North London today Saturday 6th August. It comes in from the north and flies south in the direction of the City and then back again in continuous loops. It did this for about two hours this morning from about 9am and has been doing the same this afternoon since about 1pm.
What is it doing, why is it necessary to go round and round for hours on end? Living on the hill I can hear the engine noise quite clearly and it starts to get a bit annoying.
This is quite a regular event, occurring every couple of months. A year ago I tried to get some information from the Civil Aviation Authority but they didn't reply.
it's been on the same coordinated route at 300ft (very very low) for a few days. I think it is a spy plane packed with surveilance kit. It usually flies clockwise in a circle over central london at about 30.000ft but at night. I've never seen it during the day. This is the tottenham riots anniversary so maybe thats what they're monitoring. hope this helps. good photo by the way.
I doubt it's spying on people James, probably surveying infrastructure - unlikely you'll see the real spies imho...
thanks eugene but why fly for hours late at night in a huge circle over central london ? are you saying emphatically that it is never used to spy on people ? because i've been told that it does. I'd love to know....
No plane is allowed to fly as low as 300 ft: 1500 ft is the normal minimum. And survey data from 30,000 ft? I don't think so.
Here's the flight path for today's visit:
James, you could ask Ravenair (the company in Eugene's "infrastructure" link above) the nature of the survey which is obviously what it's doing from the look of the flight path.
thanks for that
It does belong to Ravenair. It flies between Southend, London, Oxford and LIverpool.
Maybe when you have seen it it has been in a holding pattern before landing, or passengers a view of the lights of London. I doubt it can fly at 30,000 feet.
It's all a bit transparent for spying? It says SURVEY in big letters and the pattern looks like aerial survey. Land usage?
Its the ones with SPYING in big letters we need to look out for.
As I wrote in my original piece the route it was flying was as follows - it was coming in from the north, flying over Haringey and going south in the direction of the City, it then came back on the same route, went north and repeated the loop countless times - it certainly wasn't going anywhere near Southend. It did this for about two hours in the morning and two plus hours in the afternoon. I doubt if it was a holding pattern - for two hours, morning and afternoon.
As for what it was doing yes SURVEY does suggest that it is doing some sort of survey work, but what sort of survey requires constant loops over the same area for hours on end?
In the past it has been suggested that similar flights have been used for surveillance including the interception of mobile phone data. And if I was managing such flights I would also plaster the plane with SURVEY so as to fool people.
Just now on the Flightradar24 web site I clicked on the "play" button on the right side of the 6 August Southend entry and what appears is a flight path similar to what I described for that day.
Please see attached.
First are you related to Louis Barowski? Hornsey Journal, early 60s? I worked with him.
Now to the plane - its flight records show it flew down from Liverpool to Southend. A day or so later as shown on your/their chart it flew from Southend to London and flew the circuits shown and returned. The Ladder is at the centre of the pattern but is covers a wider area. 300 feet is very low and yes illegal without special permission. It would be very noisy and highly noticeable. In this day an age surveillance does not need this sort of expensive activity. A satellite can image down to a few centimetres. IP and phone data can and is captured routinely with great ease. Its what we cannot see we need to worry about.!
Worth a look at the operator http://www.ravenair.co.uk/aerialsurvey/index.html