View Full Version : Morning Interception

17th May 2005, 14:25
Anyone hear of an interception on 121.5 this morning at about 0800UTC? We were in the cruise over Manchester at the time. Could only here the Tornado F3 challenging the aircraft in question and unfortunately missed the callsign.:confused:

Dash-7 lover
17th May 2005, 16:10
Don't think anyone would own up to that with Journo's around, assuming it was a civil airliner/loss of comms issue?

17th May 2005, 16:31
You really need to get over this predisposition that all journalists are pariahs who surf the pages of PPrune looking for 'seconds from death' story ideas.

I am an experienced TV news producer and I have been a Prooner for quite a while. I only ever read and contribute from home, and if you knew anything about news, you would know that we are constantly as busy as hell and don't have time to read Pprune even if we wanted to.

Apart from which, most of the time when anything happens, it arrives on these pages as a weblink to one of the news websites.

Also, I see Pprune as a network of people sharing a common interest in aviation and it would be disrespectful to publish the private views and opinions of other forum members.


17th May 2005, 16:37
When I see journos own up to their misreporting I'll relax my stance. Until then, I'll be damned if I tell a journo anything. That way they'll only misquote me half of the time.

Let me translate that to journonese:

"World Famous Pilot praises News Media!!!!"

Chuffer Chadley
17th May 2005, 16:46

It is, indeed, unfortunate that journalists are perceived as pariahs. Unfortunately, this is in fact an entirely reasonable conception. Pretty much every 'news' story involving aircraft contains inaccuracies that belie any idea that journalists are noble professionals seeking the truth. There are far too many examples of incorrect aircraft types and over-dramatisations on the telly and in the press weekly.

When a weblink arrives on PPRuNE, it is usually turns out to be an initial indication that something has happened, somewhere, involving an aircraft, and quite often without much more accuracy than that. I particularly call to mind the 'Yahoo.co.uk' link reference a brake fire (or perhaps just smouldering wheels!) which led (quite correctly, I'm sure) to a pax evacuation. The link sent us to a photo of an aircraft engulfed in flames, with text about terrified punters. We have all seen Sky reporters talking about ABCD airfield while standing on the perimeter of WXYZ!

I really, really, really wish that I could trust what I read and hear. But it's impossible, when the reporting is so laughably poor as it is today.

I would love journalism to pick up its act. TN, please, pick up the banner for journos everywhere! Up your game! Force us to listen to you! Make your trade an honourable one using proper facts!


cessna l plate
17th May 2005, 17:50
As we are currently enjoying the delights of thread creep, whilst not wishing to tar all journos with the same brush, this post of mine from last year sums it up pretty well. (Link at the bottom)

Sorry for dragging it up again, although you appear to be a perfectly respectable and responsible journalist, sadly like all other professions, there are those that are not, and sadly in your industry TM they appear to be in the majority.

That is why few of us here on Pprune trust threads that start the way this one has. Lets look at a possible scenario.

Some poor sod batting along in his C-172 has had a total radio failure, and whilst trying to work the problem out infringes Manchester zone. (All very plausible) Manchester get worried when there is no response (quite naturally) and an interception is sent after it. Military Intercept the aircraft, work out that it isn't a threat, and lead it away from trouble. All very possible with a given set of circumstances.

An aviation reporter may report this as "Pilot with radio failure helped by the military"

Your man from the Daily ******* (Insert national rag of your choice here) would probably print .........

"Raf shoot down hijacked aircraft"

My views on journos are well voiced within these exaulted forums, why can't they just get the hint and leave aviation alone!!!
Rant overhttp://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=136771 (http://)

17th May 2005, 20:30
Not being cheeky but are F3s the only aircraft tasked with interceptions?

17th May 2005, 21:42
It is, indeed, unfortunate that journalists are perceived as pariahs.

Well I have personal experience of what they can do. My (former) boss once agreed to have a "friendly" journalist come in and interview our project team for a technical article he was writing.

The article eventually appeared under the title "Five go mad in..." and they altered the photos they took and made professional engineers look like stereotype mad scientists.

The only way I would trust a journalist is if I had a contract in writing with a clearly defined penalty clause. Something like...."If I don't get to approve published article you pay me £1M"

18th May 2005, 05:48
I agree with Chuffer.

As a Journalist - from a family of respectable and honourable journalists - I share your fury when hacks get it wrong.

Yes there are bad guys out there. If one of my own misbehaves and I have control over their actions they get a Bo77ocking.

A lot of the over reaction is from ignorance. I work a lot with military and police. I understand a lot of what they do. But I also cover stories about job losses, medicine, Iraq, and the other day Maggots. Quite often you have to get on a very steep learning curve to cover a story. I tried to get my maggot facts straight.

I can't be an expert on everything. But I can ask questions and do my best to get the facts straight. Most of the lads and lasses in my job will do the same.

It is the sloppy ones that get us a bad reputation. Just like the bad airlines or arsey check in staff get others bad reputations.

The fact is that if an F3 was aloft challenging another aircraft that is a story.

I would not publish what I read here straight to air. I would however check it out with the right people. I would not seek to turn anyone over. I Just want the facts.

Take for example the Manchester bird strike thread. Yeah,pretty routine stuff but I didn't know that jets are designed to run with birds in them in a kind of "get you home mode. Now I know that, it's a fact taken on board. We'd probably not report that, but sometime in the future that fact might be of help to me of someone I work with.

There is nothing wrong with getting info from a public forum. What you say here is just the same as what you say in the local pub.

If I went into my local and started slagging off one of our well-known presenters I wouldn't be surprised if something was made of it. So, I take care what I say.

Yes there are dumb ass hacks out there who say the RAF picked up a casualty when the helo was plainly from 771 Sq. That annoys me, as I know the difference.

I witnessed some unforgivable misreporting in GWII. Shameful stuff. I did my best to let those responsible know what they had done. Although it was nothing to do with me, I have had it in the neck from numerous members of HM forces over that.

Yes, that has damaged my relationship with certain members of the military. I was recently barracked by one officer over reporting in Iraq. I took it and did not offer a justification. A bit unfair towards me. If I met some Sh1t of a pilot while on a trip, I'd not collar the nearest BA FO in the bar and give him grief.

So, get angy but don't paint us all the same.

I have a genuine interest in aviation. Often I come on this site to ask really geeky questions in the spotters area. I am interested in building relationships, not destroying them. A lot of the people I work with think the same way.

And yes I do want to know what happened with the F3 and the unidentified A/C. It's my job to find stories. Whether it came to nothing or not I should like to know what happened so I can contact the MOD or whoever to get more info

No harm, in that.

Best wishes and respect to all


18th May 2005, 06:57
<<I am an experienced TV news producer and I have been a Prooner for quite a while.>>

Well I sincerely hope that the "media" covers stories concerning your job more professionally than it covers ours. I worked in ATC for most of my life and saw the "real" side of many, many headline stories. Not once did the media ever get it right and most of the time they published total garbage.

If aviation professionals did their jobs to ths same standard as journalists there would be wholesale carnage...

Decisive Attitude
18th May 2005, 08:28

Thank you for posting. Clearly you have a level of professionalism and seek to do the best you can.

However, let me highlight one of the reasons why many in our industry distrust many in yours. I'll use your own words to do it.

...I didn't know that jets are designed to run with birds in them in a kind of "get you home mode". Now I know that, it's a fact taken on board. We'd probably not report that, but sometime in the future that fact might be of help to me of someone I work with..

Why would you not report that? Why would you not, in the interest of balanced reporting and educating the reader (in the same way as you yourself felt 'enlightened' on learning it) report that the aircraft was probably never in grave danger?

Is is because the readers would then consider the article a non-event? A waste of column inches?

I personally believe that it's down to journos having an inherent desire to sensationalise everything. Journos - sometimes even the very good ones - seem to have the attitude that if it's not 'sensational' it won't put bums on seats, nor will it sell papers.

"Let's not print anything that might make the whole thing seem less exciting... let's not tell the readers that engines are actually designed to withstand birdstrikes without blowing up the rest of the airplane, or that the other engine provides more than enough power to get the aircraft back down to earth safely..."

I think you may find that this need to sensationalise is why, on a general level, our two professions may never see eye-to-eye.

Paranoid Parrot
18th May 2005, 08:33
I'll never forget the one in GWII on the (BBC) Breakfast TV programme when a presenter exclaimed that Iraqi soldiers were surrendering to a British helicopter when it was clearly a British soldier giving marshalling signals to a landing helicopter! :rolleyes:

18th May 2005, 09:19
In my working life I occasionally had to talk to the media, sometimes when the sh*t had hit the fan and sometimes when it hadn't. I had been given some training to help me avoid the tricks and pitfalls used by the interviewers but in almost every case the interview was never reported as fact, always distorted.Even a TV news interview would have the context changed by the time it was broadcast. The only chance of getting something reported in a fair manner is to give out a written statement and nothing more and that doesn't always work.
Dan seemed to be a reasonable chap and cannot have interviewed me!, but perhaps he can give an opinion on why when rubbish is reported in the paper it is never retracted or an apology given. When I gave a technical interview about a new piece of kit, with the agreement from the journalist that I could review it for technical accuracy before publication, it appeared in the local paper as a load of scaremongering rubbish that had no bearing on the subject. I asked the newspaper why they didn't stick to our agreement and they almost laughed in my face as they said that they hadn't had the time.
My own PR department told me that I should have known better and the first rule is you never trust the journalist.
Since then I have never had any reason to change that advice..

18th May 2005, 09:47
Decisive Attitude

Intersting points that I am happy to answer. Bear in mind though it's my view not the view of the whole industry.

Why would we probably not report the bird strike? Well it's kind of a non-event that happens now and then. Sure a local radio station might, or a local paper if a punter called them up to say how the aircraft was vibrating or whatever. But the plane landing safely is not really news unless there is some sort of major problem that's been overcome..

However yes, you could do a positive on this. Say that new technology by RR or whoever prevented a disaster. But to be honest that's a bit sensational for my liking..

And talking of the word sensational - I kind of know what you mean but perhaps it's the wrong term.

Stories have to be arresting or interesting. And every journalist shold aim to write interesting copy with impact.

But sensational?

My organisation is very marketing driven. I target my stories at a 32-year old woman. We focus on certain issue. Kylie is a good example. Yes the world aint going to end because she is ill, but our listener cares more about that than for example Sainsbury's profits taking a hit. (That's what I am told by Marketing)

My task though is to make the Sainsbury story interesting. Profits have taken an x million pound hit, half what they were is the tack I take. Not just a bland report from a city news feed packed with figures and trend forecasts. My job is to get that raw info and cut through the crap if you like.

Remember aviation stories by their very nature attract attention. People are interested in them. A QRA Tornado alert may be nothing in the end. But a figher plane packing live missiles looking at a holiday jet with a dodgy radio somewhere over the North Sea is by it's very nature sensational.

It'sa ficticious story but look at the facts that a hack gets presented with.

Airliner on it's way to EGXX with holiday makers on board. Supersonic jet designed to shoot down planes takes off with missiles. Intercepts plane. Plane lands, passengers tell of fear at seeing the fighter jet. Yeah you could hype that up, but merely report those facts and they are pretty arresting.

Now where the hack sometimes goes wrong is that he fails to get someone from the RAf or whoever to say something. Just routine or whatever.

Sometiems though you get a "no comment" which can breed speculation.

The paper probaby publishes a shot of an American Harrier when it is infact a British Tornado or somethign daft like that.

I do a bit of media training for organisations outside my company. I always tell them to adopt the pholosophy...how much can we tell the press. Not how little.

We can tell you this. And This... But sorry this is something we can't answer. Why, because we don't know, or becuse there will eb a full report later or because it's Secret.

Any good journalist told nothing, will try and find out something. If he is responsible, he'll treat the info in the appropriate manner. But if he isn't or if he isn't experienced he may go to a not-too reliable source, a so-called expert who isn't and hey presto, sensational Boxxocks.

Perhaps a word to the wise from a press officer could have prevented that.

If you are interested in how it goes on approach a news organisation. Tell them that you are what you are, that you want to know how it works, and you might be invited in for an insight. You might make some good contacts, We might too.

I often have cops and military bods along for the day, just to see how it goes on. I hope they leave with a better understanding of what we do. Of course, if the favour is returned, then I get to know more about how a police control room, ATC centre Warship works.

Just some thoughts.


IDC just read the posts again. Sorry for not replying. I was at work and had other things to do.

I know what you mean about distorting the facts. It happened to me recently when I was interviewed by a local paper. Sometimes what you say forms part of a bigger picture.

As for press statements. They work. Black and white facts on the lines of we can confirm that a happened and that b is now being looked out etc.

A good first point of reaction when you are dealing with a reactive story like an accident.

As for interviews - and I'm being poacher turned gamekeeper here a bit - you have a PR department, let them take the flack and do the interview. They should be wise to the tricks. If you have to front it out, ask them what they want to know beforehand - use the line that you want to give them the best info etc.

Ask to see the stuff before publication. It can't do any harm. I usually politely refuse as if I did that every time I did a story I would get nothing done.

In an interview, have in your mind what message you want to get across. For example, HMS whatever may be a big aircraft carrier but we are here to help disaster victims. Press home the lift capability of the helo rather than the firepower of the Harrier.

Reactive storys can get out of your control. It is the job of your PR people to try and take ownership.

Be guardedly open. Wary but not unwelcoming. Cut jargon, I had a cop once tell me the victim was in a "deceased state" Oh how we took the Pi33 out of him afterwards!

If the story is pro-active - IE you initiate the story and want to tell the world how good your new gizmo is, then give the hacks as much as you can. Info sheets, Jpegs, a try out in the thing. Again take ownership.

But it is the journos job to challenge. Don't be surprised if you say somehting and the Hack finds another expert who totally disagrees with you. That's all part of the balance thing.

18th May 2005, 09:48
While we are 'having a go', why do the media only really go for the bad side of the story?

For the D-Day parade last year i was leading about 45 cadets, there were also 15 TA, and about 20 ACF and SCC there as well as the veterans.
Now instead of writing the fact that there were all these kids helping celebrate the day, the journo's decide to write about the cadets who fainted in the heat.

Can the journo's who read this understand why none of us trust the media. Scare monger tactics in my opinion.

All for a good story, I think not.


18th May 2005, 10:15
And when actually did we last see a headline about aviation which was not sensationalist or hyped up?
The day journalists started listening to marketing "people" was the day they started to lose respect in the community. An eye less on the story and more on what sells papers.

Lon More
18th May 2005, 10:39
Sometimes we even shoot ourselves in the foot; this (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=171498&highlight=A380), although meant as a joke, without reading the rest of the thread could be construed as something completely different.

18th May 2005, 10:41
Tailbloke...Unfortunately Marketing is part of the whole thing these days. If you work in a commercial environment you have to make money, selling your product (news) to the target customer.

Airlines do the same thing. Biz class for those who want it. Budget airlines for those who want that.

Air routes aren't in place because of some sort of obligation. They are there because people can make money out of them.



18th May 2005, 10:59

Yes I heard it too,Tornado was on the guy's wing and read him the riot act,I did hear the registration but didn't really take it in as I was downwind at LGW at the time.Think it began with "Lima."

Decisive Attitude
18th May 2005, 11:29
Dan, I must apologise. I misunderstood what you said in the first instance. What you said was that you wouldn't report the birdstrike article at all. What I read was that you would have done, but not mentioned that the engines are tested for such events.

This completely changes the picture in my mind.

I stand by my comments on sensationalism but I will also be fair to you and say that you do seem to go against the journalist grain somewhat, at least with respect to contemporary journalism.

Good points made in your subsequent post. Hopefully we can all learn something.

I still won't trust most journos though... many examples on this thread alone as to perhaps why. ;)

18th May 2005, 11:55
No worries Decisive Attitude.

Perhaps you should come down my local sometime, meet my friends. One's a lawyer, the other sells houses!

Now they are not to be trusted!!


All the best


18th May 2005, 12:14
Guys, just remember one thing: as far as news organisations are concerned, there is no news like bad news!

Cheers :cool:

Chocks Wahay
18th May 2005, 12:37
Journos only write what the great unwashed masses will buy - if you want to blame someone, blame the great British public who buy this rubbish. Nobody forces them - they could just as easily by the Telegraph or whatever.

Isn't it hypocritical to refuse to tell journalists anything and then complain that they don't get their facts right?

18th May 2005, 14:08
I personally believe that it's down to journos having an inherent desire to sensationalise everything. Journos - sometimes even the very good ones - seem to have the attitude that if it's not 'sensational' it won't put bums on seats, nor will it sell papers. Don't blame the journalists! Blame the owners of the papers/magzines/TV news. They make money and they know how to make money.

These days, journos know what their bosses want and have to deliver - the example of marketing was given by the helpful Dan. Some journos will still do their best to keep things on line and be accurate, others will just roll over and take the shortest path to the deadline. Just think - in every airline and airport there are staff who do the same!! There are those who will do slipshod work and cut corners and others who are diligent to the last minute of their lives. Journos are cut from the same material. It all comes down to Money and what you can get away with.

I am not a journalist but have met many (some in my own family :rolleyes: ) and have had the amusement of reading an article in one of our leading [still] broadsheet papers that managed to change everything that I had said to the journo. If a UK paper of record cannot report an event that took place on home soil, with a reporter on site and witnessing the event ... what hope they can report an aircraft interception or partial system failure at FL380?

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Whipping Boy's SATCO
18th May 2005, 14:20
Surely a more interesting headline would be:

RAF Fail to Intercept Airline that May Have Been Hijacked

18th May 2005, 14:27

I can see the argument you’re trying to present BUT at the end of the day journalists have to appeal to a mixed audience whilst ensuring they appeal to the slowest ship in the convoy. This ‘intellectual dichotomy’ is something which the redtop, broadsheets and television news programmes face with fluctuating success. Are you writing for 32 yo white trash or a 32 yo Hyacinth Bucket? Even a spitfire can’t be in 2 places at once!

With this in mind I picked up on the fact that you mentioned:

“My job is to get that raw info and cut through the crap if you like.”

However, I’m sure you are perfectly aware that very often, ‘cutting through the crap’ usually results in dispensing with the facts that might otherwise educate the reader whilst only deflating - if at all - the story to its ‘actual’ level. But then, a journalist will always want a hungry audience to feed and this means that they need to present exciting ‘food for thought’ whilst (as is usually the case) a plate short of a sandwich or two.

The ability to present facts in a certain way for a certain argument, are the key skills which make a good lawyer, writers or journalist. But pilots / atco’s in the aviation industry need their facts: quickly, concisely, 100% truthfully and…….. accurately delivered!

This is the essential dichotomy of these 2 particular mindsets from which the perspective derives. It’s your job tell ‘sell’ me the story Dan but lives won’t be lost if you get it wrong or fail to inform someone accurately enough.

My 2 ‘Pet Hates’ whilst we’re on the subject…

1) > I can imagine that most graduates of Media or English Literature may not like their numbers too much but I remember well before my A-level maths that %’s only really tell a story if you have a number to start / end with and vice versa if you tell me about a relative fluctuation.

Telling me something increased by 50% tells me nothing about the number you started with, so if you’re going to use a % give me the original OR final number!

2) > Relative fluctuations

If you’re going to come up with figures like 800,000 people died of TB in Britain between 1850 & 1950 and that only 500 people died of the same disease last year in the UK, give me an idea what that means in real terms. The population and nature of the demographic has changed dramatically so what do your comparisons really tell me relative to the changes in the population under scrutiny? The report below might as well chuck maths out the window!


001 (BA History)

Carl Rawson
18th May 2005, 15:27
This thread seems to have denigrated itself into an attack on the journalisitic profession; and in my opinion not without some foundation having been on the receiving end of a misquote from a journalist myself.
It's nice to see some balance and for my part I can see where some journalists are coming from in so much as their psyche seems to be to set up one person against the other in order to obtain some facts. One only has to listen to the likes of Humphreys and Naughtie et al on the Today Programme on Radio 4 each morning to hear impartial, excellent journalism at it's best. It's a shame that their professionalism is let down by some who aren't so professional; probably freelance trying to sell the best angle on a story, factual or not.
For my part I would like to get back to the nub of the thread. This was obviously a none event of some kind hardly worthy of any news space (radio failure may be, foreign with poor English causing a short incursion?).
Does anyone have the answer?