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Squawks & HeadlinesMystery Boeing 737 Flying Circles In Florida Storms

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Mystery Boeing 737 Flying Circles In Florida Storms

Southwest Florida observers are mystified about a twin engine jet aircraft circling at low levels in and around strong daily thunderstorms this week. (swflorida.blogspot.com) More...

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John Berry 13
Reminds me of my home town paper running stories and editorials about the mysterious white aircraft that was doing covert government surveillance in the area. I mean why else would it keep flying around in circles for hours at a time, always in the same general location.

Then my step-son started working on his pilot's license and was taken by his instructor to a practice area where the went around in circles for hours at a time working on various maneuvers.

Wanna guess where the practice area was?
Tim Duggan 6
LOL. Yup. Oh, and what's important is that from below, most commercial airliners appear "all white", especially when they're at high altitude. Unless the operator has a distinctive paint scheme with significant dark colors on the belly.

So, the idiotic "chemtrail!" claims keep rolling in. (Among other claims...)

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Tim Duggan 14
"floyd", I live on the West Coast already. And, I have been over this subject countless times, seen countless videos and "claims" of "chemtrails" when in fact each and every time they are merely CONTRAILS.

Over and again, these claims are made by people who are ignorant of the science.

This site is a good place to get educated, and deny ignorance:

BTW, are you aware that the entire "idea" of "chemtrails" was begun by an AM Radio talk show host, so he could create a market of hypochondriacs willing to buy his fake "remedy cure" for all that ails ya? Since that auspicious beginning, many other "snake oil salesmen" have jumped on the bandwagon because they see it as a money-making scheme...fooling the naive and science-deprived people with loads of flim-flam.

Reminds me of "The Simpsons" and the monorail:

Speaking of Redding CA, easy to find to prove my point:

A video (^ ^ ^) of normal cirrus clouds and contrails. "Cirrus Aviaticus" is the scientific term for contrails. Yet, the video maker does not know what she is looking at. This is called "ignorance". And, claiming that normal contrails are something else is idiotic and inane. There is no excuse for ignorance in today's Internet world.

Finally, (pilots who use FA will know of this site too):

Go there (^ ^ ^) and if you know any pilots, they can help walk you through it.
But, I'll explain this much -- click on the globe icon for Charts. Look for the tab labelled "Enroute High" then click. Mouse over to find "Enroute H-3", then click. To quickly center the map (Chart) type an aviation code in the box at left top corner (next to words "Flight Plan"). For the Redding Airport, type KRDD.

Each one of those black (and blue, they are RNAV only routes, meaning they are not part of the VOR structure) are Jet Airways. Note their arrangements. Compare to contrails seen overhead your area. Keep in mind that conditions aloft vary day to day, hour by hour, and that winds exist aloft too.

Lastly, let's look at FA's own resources here, and randomly choose a flight North/South from SEA to LAX -- here's Alaska 450 on 21 Aug, 2013:

OK...next, let's look at its Flight Plan: HAROB4 FEPOT OED RBL SAC AVE SADDE6

'HAROB4' is an Instrument Departure Procedure (SID) (Found here on FA also).

'FEPOT' is an intersection (or "waypoint') 'OED', 'RBL', 'SAC', and 'AVE' are VORs.

'SADDE6" is an Instrument Arrival into LAX (a STAR).

By the way, 'RBL' is the "Red Bluff" VOR, just south of the Redding airport.

So you can see clearly that there are many, many flights every day along various routes, and contrails form depending on the many factors of conditions -- temperature, relative humidity, etc -- at cruise levels of airliners.
joel wiley 2
Tim, if you do take the advice and head to Redding & Weaverville, keep in mind "an armed society is a polite society"
Todd Baldwin 2
Lets break out the tin foil hats folks.
chalet 1
joel wiley 1
It had to move after the CIA outed it.
tim mitchell 1
finally a good use for KTNT.....build a runway out in the middle of a swamp....well played gov'ment...well played
PhotoFinish 1
... or in this case Area 863
Don Browne 5
Mystery solvedf. Steve Brecken, Director, Global Media and Analyst Relations for Honeywell Aerospace said in a comment to my Southwest Florida Online news blog, "Honeywell's Boeing 757 test bed aircraft has been conducting wind shear testing in South Florida over the past week.

"The Everglades and Florida's predictable afternoon summer storms provide an optimum testing environment for our research and development aircraft. The information gathered during these low level flights will help improve aviation safety and benefit the flying public for years to come."
Tim Duggan 5
Oh great....this is going to spur the nutcases who shout "chemtrail!" every time they don't understand aviation and science.
Toby Sharp 1
chemtrail? the government is spraying us again? LOL
John Donaldson 4
If it was Saturday afternoon I could certainly understand that for we had some unusually nasty storms. One lasting only about 15 minutes on my farm (4 miles from RSW) had gusts well over 60 miles per hours and driving rain from the south. It would have shut down RSW (6/24) with the severe cross wind until it passed. Until then normal commercial traffic could well have been orbiting there...as I repaired my lanai. One of my anesthesia colleagues though he had a water spout with it at his house on the water.
Jeremy Kudlick 2
This is the most logical explanation. Which means it can't possibly be correct! ;)
Craig G 2
Send the rain our way. We could use it!!
if it's a 737, as the article states, it could quite likely be the Nasa jet being used to test LIDAR on microburst wind-shear

Brandon Sealey 1
That article is from 1992
joel wiley 1
Tail # N515NA in the video does not appear in FA. It does appear in

which was listed as: preserved at the Museum of Flight at
Seattle - Boeing Field / King County International (BFI / KBFI)
USA - Washington, May 6, 2013

Maybe not the same one?
that is correct, it is, but if you do some checking, they are still running tests to improve it.
Brandon Sealey 1
The Boeing 757 is owned and operated by Honeywell Aerospace. It is used as a test bed platform for new engines. If you have seen the actual photo posted on www.nbc-2.com website you will notice what appears to be an open cargo door toward the front fuselage of the aircraft. This is actually a third (test engine) mounted to the aircraft. I believe Honeywell has been developing/testing a new engine for regional style jets (CRJ's and ERJ's). More than likely they were testing low altitude and weather related flights over the Hendry County area. It’s very rare to see this aircraft. To see more photos Google search Honeywell Aerospace 757.
Burke Files 1
If I am correct the 757 Bird nests on the north side of Sky Harbor in Phoenix - next to the Honeywell facility. BTW aren't chem trails what you do just before the DUI?
tim mitchell 1
kTNT isn't to far from there either.
Brandon Sealey 2
This is the nbc-2.com link of the acutal plane spotted over the Hendry County area. http://pics.nbc-2.com/media/3817915
Don Browne 2
I think Brandon Sealey has correctly figured out what the aircraft was, the Honeywell Boeing 757. I found a video which I have added to the story, which matches what I think I saw and what my retired Delta friend saw. with the "test engine" mounted on the top of the fuselage. My friend said he saw "something" on the top of the aircraft but couldn't determine what it was when he saw it. But, I note that the first time I saw the low level flying as it came over my house at about 1,500 I thought it was a four engine plane, but it disappeared to quickly to get a close look. The second appearance looked like the Honeywell, and a third appearance looked more like a 737. Could there be more than one aircraft?
PhotoFinish 1
As it now appears that the plane was actually a 757, the suggestion that sightings of a low-flying 737 flying into thunderstorms, might turn out to NOT BE A 737 turns out to be perfectly legitimate.

Ha! No need to default to conspiracy theories, nor alien explanations. (Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable. Photographic corroboration is so helpful in these cases.)
skylloyd 1
BTW, this is the very first 757, NA001.
J.R. Arens 1
no it isn't you are thinking of boeing's test bed the "catfish" based at bfi

honeywells is l/n 5 http://www.airframes.org/reg/n757hw
PhotoFinish 0
There were some comments below the article that suggested they might be intentionally breaking up thunderstorm cells in certain areas to prevent too much additional rainfall in an area where the lake is already overflowing.

The stormcell research idea was also pondered, if less immediately practical.
Randy Michel 0
Could it be a P-8 Poseidon doing training?
preacher1 3
That seems to be a consensus on those comments but nobody is saying who it is.
preacher1 2
That was my first thought, BUT, if that is an actual picture of the plane in the story, that would rule it out. They are all pretty much solid gray aren't they?
PhotoFinish 1
Actually, it's just a file photo of the underbelly of a random 737.

"Boeing 737 Photo credit: Wikipedia"

So it might not even be a 737.
Michael Misorski 1
That picture was supplied by Wikipedia.
btweston 1
It's probably a 737. Unless you're really into bizarre and unnecessary conspiracy theories.
PhotoFinish 1
Nothing so dramatic. Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable. It could look like a 737, and be some other aircraft.
Don Browne 1
The source of the aircrart identification was another observer who is a retired Delta airlines employee, and probably is correct. The photo is just a file photo of the belly of a 737.
btweston 1
I was talking about the photo.
PhotoFinish 1
Yes, you're often in your own little world.
PhotoFinish 1
I missed that a retired Delta employee made the aircraft id. I would trust a retired employee in commercial aviation.
Jeremy Kudlick 1
Where did you read that a retired Delta employee made the ID? It's nowhere in the blog post.
btweston 2
Unless he was an alien retired Delta employee under secret control by the government... Prove that he isn't!
tim mitchell 2
lol......let me guess....it was Illuminati Air....lol
Illuminati, that would be Tupac...
joel wiley 1
he said brightly.....chuckle
Don Browne 1
I wrote the article after talking to my pilot friend who worked for Delta. I didn't put that in the blog post story.
btweston 3
Eh. Probably just aliens under secret government control. Weirder things have happened in Florida.

SootBox 2
No, humans under alien control by means of a complicit shadow government.
Toby Sharp 1
Ya, Remember the vote counting a few years ago? Geez