03/10/2011

Sarkozy's old aircraft in Geneva?

There has been Web speculation that two Airbus A319 of President Sarkozy were sold in a doubtful manner to African states, and that one of them came back to Geneva this month. True or false?


The site of Mecanopolis.org carried a report that two Airbus A319, which had belonged to President Sarkozy, had been quietly sold last year. One of the two was supposedly sold to Karthago Airlines, a Tunisian airline controlled (owned?) by the Trabelsi family (the family of the wife of ex-President Ben Ali), with the deal being negotiated by the ex-minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie.

The two A319 aircraft were registered as F-RBFA and F-RBFB. Geneva did see F-RBFA twice last year and twice the year before (2009), whereas F-RBFB was seen just once in 2009 (on September 11 2009!). Neither had been seen very much after that until the flight tracking site data.flight.com reported F-RBFB early this month (on 1 March and 7 March). That tracking site gives very little information on the flights of these two days, whilst a googling of the callsigns adds little new information.

Where things get interesting for Geneva is that in an article on this same subject, a different investigation uncovered a report from the general aircraft tracking site radarvirtuel.com which claimed to have seen F-RBFB come to Geneva on 2 March. This surprised me because the ARAG GAME system had not seen any such arrival (and we use the same equipment to receive aircraft transponder signals). I therefore took a more precise look at an image supposedly showing the aircraft coming to Geneva.

What I got from this image (of Google Maps) was that the aircraft had been seen at 9am at the position (latitude, longitude) of (46.36775, 6.02066). When I fed these coordinates into Google Earth I saw that it was a position in woods very close to the Col de la Faucille. The information from the image also stated that the aircraft was moving at 2 miles/hour on a heading of 321° (i.e. it was either on the ground or had turned into a helicopter!).

My conclusion on this is that the aircraft never really came to Geneva. Instead, it was somewhere completely different, on the ground and with a GPS indication system completely false. Such false positions do occasionally happen (I already reported on one cargo aircraft which landed in Geneva but claimed that it was somewhere at the other end of the lake). One could also imagine that some "influential" passengers on some aircraft might not really wish to have the transponder of the aircraft tell everyone exactly where it really is!

I wonder where F-RBFB actually was!

 

21:07 Posted in Unusual aircraft | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: sarkozy, ben ali, trabelsi, tunisia, f-rbfb | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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