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The strange routings of Eastern Bloc freighters

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The strange routings of Eastern Bloc freighters

Old 26th Jun 2018, 13:46
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The strange routings of Eastern Bloc freighters

Last winter we discussed the strange routings taken by An-12s between Doncaster and Gothenburg - via overhead Newcastle!

This example from last night is taking things to extremes: An Il-76 from Bourgas to Algiers. Via overhead Luxembourg. I'm not joking. At one point between Luxembourg Airport and the French border it was actually flying at a >180 degree angle to its heading over Hungary.

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/a...412th#1ce7148b

There seem to be a couple of errors in FR24s tracking of the flight: there's a straight line south of Bourgas that looks erroneous, and the flightpath peters out north of Algeria. But I followed it over Luxembourg in real time and it did take this routing (too much coffee and a hayfever remedy that seems to be keeping me awake at nights ).

What's going on? Looking at the aircraft's previous routings, there do seem to be certain countries it doesn't like flying over. Judging by its routing from Ankara to Madrid and back again a few days ago, it doesn't like Albania for some reason. But Greece and Turkey don't look to be a problem.
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Old 26th Jun 2018, 16:06
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It could be noise related, it could be cargo related. It could, of course, be errors in FR24's data, it wouldn't be the first time. I've seen AN-12/24's flying from the UK to N.Europe hugging the coastlines and taking a much longer route to not have a long transit over water, for reasons unknown.
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Old 26th Jun 2018, 16:36
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Probably practice bombing runs....
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Old 26th Jun 2018, 18:16
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Originally Posted by jensdad View Post
and the flightpath peters out north of Algeria.
Can't really pin that on FR24; monitoring airband-related transmissions in Algeria is not a good idea.

Even importing radio equipment to Algeria is prohibited, and you need a license to buy a broadcast receiver.
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Old 26th Jun 2018, 18:21
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The only logical explanation I can think off would be an in flight diversion for what ever reason.
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Old 26th Jun 2018, 18:22
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Originally Posted by SpringHeeledJack View Post
It could be noise related, it could be cargo related. It could, of course, be errors in FR24's data, it wouldn't be the first time. I've seen AN-12/24's flying from the UK to N.Europe hugging the coastlines and taking a much longer route to not have a long transit over water, for reasons unknown.
I was considering those options but...
a) keeping noise or hazardous cargo away from population centres: it went straight over the top of Frankfurt, Luxembourg City and Geneva to name but three.
b) reluctance to go overwater: The stretch between Southern France and just east of the Balearics is a longer overwater stretch than anything it would have covered if flying in a straightish line from Bourgas to Algiers.
c) dodgy FR24 data: Possible, but like I say I watched the flight in progress over a fair stretch of its route. Looking at FR24's plot there looks to be an anomaly around Bourgas, but the rest of it looks legit...

Strange goings-on.
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Old 26th Jun 2018, 18:25
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Originally Posted by MATELO View Post
The only logical explanation I can think off would be an in flight diversion for what ever reason.
FR24 was stating that its destination was Algiers well before it made its turn over Luxembourg. A possibility though.
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Old 26th Jun 2018, 19:21
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It looks like 2 flight plans:
Burgas - Luxembourg
Luxembourg - Algier

Maybe some silly diplomatic stuff like Algier not accepting a plane from Bulgaria? (would require Luxembourg to put them onto the flightplan from Luxembourg, not that it really matters if it would just refuel in Luxembourg)

Overflight restrictions would apply per country i would say. So it's not that they avoided particular countries, else they would have cut through Germany on a southwest trajectory but they went straight towards Luxembourg.

Anyway i agree that it does not make much sense. Perhaps their flight planning department could not be reached or there were other problems with filing new flight plans. So they just fly the existing flight plans that previously planned a stop in Luxembourg? Seems wasteful fuelwise but i would not exclude it, sometime bureaucracy just wins. As sad as it is with language barriers and the head office in Belarus that may be closed at that hour it sounds like the most likely explanation.
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Old 26th Jun 2018, 19:22
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Quite often FR24 uses the historical data from old flight numbers and the destination can be sometimes be the old one for that flight number
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Old 27th Jun 2018, 02:09
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That sounds like a good explanation, wiedehopf.
An An-12, UR-CNT, belonging to Ukraine Air Alliance has just gone overhead from Shannon. I heard what sounded like a Dash 8 or suchlike on climbout from Newcastle, logged into FR24 on to see what was departing at this time of night, and it turns out it's an An-12 at 25,000! Let's see if it makes any strange shapes on its way to wherever it's going...
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Old 27th Jun 2018, 07:18
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Strange routing of cargo flights is most likely related to dangerous cargo being carried. For weapons you need permission to overfly from each country. So you follow the possible route, not logical one.
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Old 27th Jun 2018, 08:16
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I would imagine it could be something to do with an altimeter check over Nattenheim VOR (NTM) which is just north of Luxembourg city, when flying. NTM is one of the few points where this can be done, necessary for correct data correlation radar-wise.
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Old 27th Jun 2018, 14:24
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Originally Posted by zed3 View Post
I would imagine it could be something to do with an altimeter check over Nattenheim VOR (NTM) which is just north of Luxembourg city, when flying. NTM is one of the few points where this can be done, necessary for correct data correlation radar-wise.
Interesting info there, zed3. Never knew that. Even taking into account the weird routing, it did make a particularly strange manoeuvre over the Luxembourg area (as mentioned it was actually flying in the opposite direction to a previous heading at one stage) so that could indeed be what was happening there.
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Old 27th Jun 2018, 23:01
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That's a chemtrail track if ever I saw one. Probably collecting intelligence as well.
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Old 28th Jun 2018, 08:33
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Probably collecting intelligence as well.
From Luxembourg?
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 12:12
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
Probably practice bombing runs....
Nothing new.
Back in the '60s, Aeroflot flights from Heathrow to Moscow which should have routed via Clacton often had 'navigation problems' and ended up flying over much of East Anglia (with its multiple RAF and USAF stations) instead of following the airway.
The aircraft involved were Tu104s which had a glass navigator (or was it bomb aimer) position in the nose; you can clearly see it in photos of the aircraft.

Last edited by chevvron; 29th Jun 2018 at 14:59.
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Old 29th Jun 2018, 14:37
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chevron... at the same time there was a similar situation in the Belgian Upper Airspace where the Aeroflot deps from Paris used to stray off airway to gather information keeping r/t silence for as long as possible. The Belgian Air Force was ever watchful and corrections were made. Aaah, the good old days! Now it's all done with satellites.
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Old 1st Jul 2018, 21:16
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In the late 60s I was flying Lightnings from Wattisham. One day, on QRA, we were prebriefed that were going to be launched to fly underneath an Aeroflot liner (TU134 or could have been a 104) to block the view from the glazed bit under the nose. Int knew the aircraft was going to deviate from the flight plan and overfly East Anglian bases. It happened.
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Old 1st Jul 2018, 22:24
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Nothing new.
Back in the '60s, Aeroflot flights from Heathrow to Moscow which should have routed via Clacton often had 'navigation problems' and ended up flying over much of East Anglia (with its multiple RAF and USAF stations) instead of following the airway.
The aircraft involved were Tu104s which had a glass navigator (or was it bomb aimer) position in the nose; you can clearly see it in photos of the aircraft.
Yes, I wasn't joking!

But then...of course our side were at it, too.
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Old 2nd Jul 2018, 04:00
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Back in the '70's working ATC at Belfast we had the occasional visit from an eastern block TU154. One day some intelligence types were playing around with their electronic gizmos. Turned out this aircraft arrived and departed on 2 engines...... the centre engine pod was full of detection devices!!
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