08/13/2010

Another aircraft transponder emergency signal

It seems as iff emergency transmissions from aircraft transponders are like London buses. You wait for ages and then three come along at once!


On fairly rare occasions an aircraft transponder will emit a message indicating some kind of emergency. A prime example of this, mentioned in my blog of 3 August, was the message put out on Monday 2 August by the aircraft of the Portugese airline TAP when it turned around and came back to make an emergency landing.

Such emergency signals can be detected for aircraft within a range of at least 50 kilometres around Geneva, including aircraft overflying Geneva at a high altitude. Obviously, and fortunately, they are not always serious incidents: in most cases the general public will have no idea what was the reason.

Since the start of August there have been three detected emergency signals, of which the second was from the TAP aircraft. The first, on August 1, was from a helicopter with registration F-GOOZ. According to the French registration authority web site, this belongs to the Geneva-based company, Comatrans SA and is based in Annemasse. This helicopter did not seem to be at Geneva airport that day, so it was probably operating from its base station. Perhaps, since there were lots of fireworks that day, it could have been nearly hit by a large rocket (just a joke!).

The third incident happened at 18h57 on Thursday 13 August, coming from a British Aerospace BAe 125, registration HB-VOO, operated by the Geneva-based company Sonnig SA. Interestingly, this transmission came while the aircraft was preparing for takeoff: it duly took off at 19h01.

This aircraft, built in 1992 and apparently used by Sonnig since 2007, can carry up to 9 passengers. According to the Sonnig web site, it can be hired for around 3,900 Euros per hour.

Extra thrills probably come free!

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