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Potentially worrying news from LBA...

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Potentially worrying news from LBA...

Old 26th Jan 2010, 10:30
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Potentially worrying news from LBA...

Source: Yorkshire Evening Post.

Any thoughts / experiences?

Pirate broadcasters are risking lives at Leeds-Bradford International Airport by posing as air crew and sending bogus messages to air traffic controllers.

A police investigation has begun at the Airport to catch the illegal broadcasters who have been using specialist equipment and specific airline call signs to disrupt planes landing or taking off.

There have been two incidents reported to police by airport staff since
Christmas, sparking safety concerns. The perpetrators are believes to be in their late teens or early 20s and have "specialist knowledge" of aircraft and airports.

Mark Winterbourne, chairman of Project Griffin, the airport's anti-terrorism operation, said: "These people just think they are having a laugh but it is a very juvenile and immature act where the consequences could be so dire, you cannot imagine."

He said that, although air traffic controllers were aware of all of the planes flight paths, the illegal broadcasts could cause danger by increasing the possibility of aircraft colliding.

The pirates, who are understood to have been near the airport when the
broadcasts were made, have sent calls on the correct radio frequency one of thousands available used by the airport, said Mr Winterbourne.

Mr Winterbourne said: "The calls were pretending to be for air traffic
controllers and anybody broadcasting on that frequency is creating not only a danger to the air traffic control but also a danger to the pilot and the public, passengers and people on the ground."

Andy Leat, a constable with the Leeds-Bradford Airport police, said West Yorkshire Police had stepped up patrols around the airport in a bid to catch the airwave pirates.

He said: "To be able to broadcast on an airport frequency, you need specialist equipment.

"Each airline has a call sign and they were using the correct call sign for an airline which uses Leeds-Bradford Airport.

"It generated into general chat but they initially called up as an airline."

A spokesman for Leeds-Bradford Airport said it did not want to comment as the incidents were being investigated jointly by the police and Project Griffin staff.
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