Negative Ivan, the pattern is full

According to NATO, it seems that incidents with Russian IL-20M surveillance aircraft (NATO Reporting sign Coot-A), basically an ELINT equipped 1970s made Ilyushin Il-18 turboprop airliners (which look a lot like EP-3 Orions), have been bumping along commercial airspace. While that’s not unusual, what is is that they are doing so without their transponders and IFF gear on. Since most non-military air traffic control radars are not skin-paint (where they look for flying contacts larger than 3-meters square), but transponder pingers (which just look for planes squawking codes), this can be kinda dangerous.

Coming soon to a flight pattern near you?

Coming soon to a flight pattern near you?

“In March, a Boeing 737 from Scandinavian Airlines came within a split second of colliding with a Russian spy plane. The airliner, carrying 132 passengers, had just taken off from Copenhagen on a routine flight to Rome when it passed within 300 feet of a Russian IL-20 surveillance aircraft.

The intruder had switched off its transponders and failed to contact air traffic control. Only the quick reaction of the Scandinavian Airlines pilot – and the fact that the incident occurred in daylight and in good visibility – prevented a near miss from becoming a disaster.”

Whoops.

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