Debunked: Fed Ex MD-11 Almost collides with "Ghost Tankers"

KC-10FE

Senior Member.

'Video footage taken by a Federal Express commercial airline pilot, the tankers didn't appear on the Fed-Ex aircraft avoidance system....in other words they were "Ghost Planes"

The FedEx Aircraft was on a dangerous collision heading with what appears to be two tankers. Vertical separation under 2,000 feet.

"... FedEx 5034 with request"

"... FedEx 5034 is requesting flight level '340' (34,000 feet)"

Second tanker on collision heading...

FedEx 5034 descends to 34,000 feet only to discover a third tanker at that altitude.
Conclusion: tankers were operating at civilian altitude with transponder off. The control tower had no idea the Air Force tankers existed and no radar system was available to warn the FedEx pilot of danger."


This is quite laughable reading this, especially to anyone with experience in the flying world. Below we can break down each one of these statements; conclusions drawn by someone with little or no knowledge on how air traffic control works.



1. Claim: The FedEx Aircraft was on a dangerous collision heading with what appears to be two tankers. Vertical separation under 2,000 feet.

Reality: These "tankers" are regular airliners operating in the same airspace as the MD-11. Any impending collision would have not only been audible on the MD-11's TCAS, but also triggered an alert on the appropriate controller's screen.

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/enroute/rvsm/

1. All of these aircraft are flying together in RVSM airspace. RVSM was implemented to reduce the vertical separation above flight level (FL) 290 from 2000-ft minimum to 1000-ft minimum. It allows aircraft to safely fly more optimum profiles, gain fuel savings and increase airspace capacity. The process of safely changing the separation standard required a study to assess the actual performance of airspace users under the old vertical separation standard of 2000-ft and potential performance under the new standard 1000-ft. In 1988, the ICAO Review of General Concept of Separation Panel (RGCSP) completed this study and concluded that safe implementation of the 1000-ft separation standard was technically feasible. RVSM was subsequently implemented and today RVSM represents a global standard for 1000-ft vertical separation.

2. Had these aircraft truly been on a dangerous collision heading, the MD-11's TCAS or Traffic Collision Avoidance System would have been alerting the pilots to an impending collision.

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Traffic_alert_and_collision_avoidance_system

TCAS monitors the airspace around an aircraft for other aircraft, independent of air traffic control, and warns pilots of the presence of other aircraft which may present a threat of mid-air collision. TCAS uses aural annunciation of all warnings, similar to the ground proximity warning system (GPWS)

Rather than using fixed distances, threats are detected on a basis of time to conflict. Any aircraft on a flight path causing a conflict within the next 20-50 seconds triggers a traffic warning. (TA) Traffic coming even closer (15-35 seconds) may also trigger a resolution advisory (RA), i.e. advise each pilot of conflicting aircraft to climb or descend to provide optimal vertical separation.

TCAS is mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to be fitted to all aircraft with a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of over 5,700 kg (12,600 lb) or authorized to carry more than 19 passengers.

TCAS
TCAS MD 11 2.jpg

TCAS Warnings
Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 3.44.16 PM.png




2. Claim: Tankers were operating at civilian altitude with transponder off.

There is no such thing as a "civilian" altitude. All aircraft entering Class B airspace must obtain ATC clearance prior to entry and must be prepared for denial of clearance. Aircraft must be equipped with a two-way radio for communications with ATC and an operating Mode C transponder. Furthermore aircraft overflying the upper limit of any Class B airspace must have an operating Mode C transponder.

Even if their transponder would have been "turned off" they would have been detected on primary radar returns. Primary radar is still used by ATC today as a backup/complementary system to secondary radar, although its coverage and information is more limited.


Here is a great article on the breakdown of controlled airspace in the United States, and how the different agencies, ground, tower, clearance delivery etc work together.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/flight/modern/air-traffic-control.htm
Web1.png

3. Claim: The control tower had no idea the Air Force tankers existed and no radar system was available to warn the FedEx pilot of danger."


Once again..way off. All military aircraft fly in FAA controlled airspace, therefore they must adhere to the FAA's regulations. Every military aircraft is on a filed flight plan with ATC. Even if it is our tanker flying with a 6 ship of fighters on the wing, we have declared MARSA (Military Accepts Responsibility for Separation of Aircraft) with the controlling facility, on a pre approved ALTRV (Altitude Reservation) with the tanker's Mode C transponder operating in TA Mode, and the fighters squawking standby.

The need to be able to identify aircraft more easily and reliably led to another wartime radar development, the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, which had been created as a means of positively identifying friendly aircraft from enemy. This system, which became known in civil use as secondary surveillance radar (SSR) or in the USA as the air traffic control radar beacon system (ATCRBS), relies on a piece of equipment aboard the aircraft known as a "transponder." The transponder is a radio receiver and transmitter which receives on one frequency (1030 MHz) and transmits on another (1090 MHz). The target aircraft's transponder replies to signals from an interrogator (usually, but not necessarily, a ground station co-located with a primary radar) by transmitting a coded reply signal containing the requested information.

Both the civilian SSR and the military IFF have become much more complex than their war-time ancestors, but remain compatible with each other, not least to allow military aircraft to operate in civil airspace. SSR can now provide much more detailed information, for example, the aircraft's altitude, and it also permits the exchange of data directly between aircraft for collision avoidance. (TCAS)!! Given its primary military role of reliably identifying friends, IFF has much more secure (encrypted) messages to prevent "spoofing" by the enemy, and also is used on all kinds of military platforms including air, sea and land vehicles.

Surveillance displays are available to controllers at larger airports to assist with controlling air traffic. SSR displays include a map of the area, the position of various aircraft, and data tags that include aircraft identification, speed, altitude, and other information described in local procedures. Since the MD-11 was at FL340, he had already long since been passed off by tower to departure control, and most likely to an ARTCC or "center", with an 4 digit code assigned by ATC entered in its transponder, which was displaying the above information on the appropriate controller's screen.

The difference between primary and secondary (SSR) radar

http://traxindo.com/index.php/solutions/atc/surveillance-radar


Any sort of impending collision would have triggered an alert on the controller's screen. The screen looks sort of like this.

radarviewsector60.png



Any pilot flying around in Class B airspace, (or any controlled airspace for that matter) unannounced and unauthorized would face not only the wrath of the FAA and the controllers, but also of the thousands of other pilots flying in that airspace. It most likely would also earn the pilot a visit by a pair of armed F16's or F15C's next to his cockpit window.

The video is misleading since all it shows is the MD-11 pilot requesting a different flight level..nothing more.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Your information regarding collision avoidance is extremely informative and hope your information will do much to debunk the superficial and emotional response of the video.

The other piece to the video is the assumed spraying of something because of the contrails in the video from, in this case, commercial airliners.

A bit off topic; KC-10FE, the contrails in the video are impressive. Have you experienced such robust contrails while in normal civilian air space? If so how often do you witness such events?
 

KC-10FE

Senior Member.
Your information regarding collision avoidance is extremely informative and hope your information will do much to debunk the superficial and emotional response of the video.

The other piece to the video is the assumed spraying of something because of the contrails in the video from, in this case, commercial airliners.

A bit off topic; KC-10FE, the contrails in the video are impressive. Have you experienced such robust contrails while in normal civilian air space? If so how often do you witness such events?
I am not quite sure what you mean by "civilian airspace" since we share the same airspace as airliners. The only true "Military airspace" I can think of are the MOA's and warning areas usually around bases with fighter aircraft.

These allow for fighter aircraft etc to go out and dogfight/conduct maneuvers without having to worry about separation from other air traffic, since they are constantly making aggressive climbs and turns, sometime ranging from a couple thousand feet AGL, up to FL350 or so. Other purposes include airdrop practice, drone training, and live fire training.

MOA: "airspace established outside Class A airspace to separate or segregate certain nonhazardous military activities from IFR Traffic and to identify for VFR traffic where these activities are conducted." (14 CFR §1.1, U.S.A.)

MOA's are often positioned over isolated, rural areas to provide ground separation for any noise nuisance or potential accident debris. Each designated MOA appears on the relevant sectional charts, along with its normal hours of operation, lower and upper altitudes of operation, controlling authority contact, and using agency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Operations_Area
MOA.jpg

Whenever an MOA is active, nonparticipating IFR traffic may be cleared through the area provided ATC can ensure IFR separation; otherwise, ATC will reroute or restrict nonparticipating IFR traffic. Although MOA's do not restrict VFR operations, pilots operating under VFR should exercise extreme caution while flying within, near, or below an active MOA. Military pilots do, on occasion, underfly their prescribed MOA at lower altitudes without warning. Additionally, prior to entering an active MOA, pilots are encouraged to contact the controlling agency for traffic advisories due to the frequently changing status of these areas.

Back to the subject about seeing contrails, we see them quite often, especially over the Atlantic on the NAT tracks, when we are cruising up at FL370 or so. Here is a picture an F16 took of us at about FL260 (Not on the NAT tracks) I would bet in the video that the MD-11 was creating contrails just as the "ghost tankers" were:)

218046_1037305503857_1478_n.jpg
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I am not quite sure what you mean by "civilian airspace" since we share the same airspace as airliners. The only true "Military airspace" I can think of are the MOA's and warning areas usually around bases with fighter aircraft.
Bad term on my part. I was trying to make a distinction between flights by military aircraft on mission in potentially hostile airspace and areas where there is no need to suppress persistent contrails as in where normal commercial activity is engaged. It is my understanding military planners brief flight commanders on the areas and altitudes where contrail formation is most likely so they can be avoided when on mission in hostile territory.
 
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KC-10FE

Senior Member.
Bad term on my part. I was trying to make a distinction between flights by military aircraft on mission in potentially hostile airspace and areas where there is no need to suppress persistent contrails as in where normal commercial activity is engaged. It is my understanding military planners brief flight commanders on the areas and altitudes where contrail formation is most likely so they can be avoided when on mission in hostile territory.
Ah, I see where you are coming from. Flying at night is definitely optimum when flying in a combat zone, other than that, combat tactics are something I can't quite comment about on here, in the interest of OPSEC.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
After all that work:) Oh well..
I'd like to also point out that the video, used by those trying to claim "chem"trails, wasn't even shot in the cockpit of a FedEx jet!! HERE is the original video, before it was altered by the lying "chem"trail promoter:


We can hear FedEx 5034 because we hear him on the same ATC frequency as the Air India jet, and from the cockpit speakers. Typically in cruise, we don't wear the headsets, but instead have the ATC audio on the speakers, and use hand mics.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Ah, I see where you are coming from. Flying at night is definitely optimum when flying in a combat zone, other than that, combat tactics are something I can't quite comment about on here, in the interest of OPSEC.
Thanks! KC you answered my question.

Back to the subject about seeing contrails, we see them quite often, especially over the Atlantic on the NAT tracks, when we are cruising up at FL370 or so. Here is a picture an F16 took of us at about FL260 (Not on the NAT tracks) I would bet in the video that the MD-11 was creating contrails just as the "ghost tankers" were:).
 

KC-10FE

Senior Member.
Bad term on my part. I was trying to make a distinction between flights by military aircraft on mission in potentially hostile airspace and areas where there is no need to suppress persistent contrails as in where normal commercial activity is engaged. It is my understanding military planners brief flight commanders on the areas and altitudes where contrail formation is most likely so they can be avoided when on mission in hostile territory.
Ah, I see where you are coming from. Flying at night is definitely optimum when flying in a combat zone, other than that, combat tactics are something I can't quite comment about on here, in the interest of OPSEC.
I'd like to also point out that the video, used by those trying to claim "chem"trails, wasn't even shot in the cockpit of a FedEx jet!! HERE is the original video, before it was altered by the lying "chem"trail promoter:


We can hear FedEx 5034 because we hear him on the same ATC frequency as the Air India jet, and from the cockpit speakers. Typically in cruise, we don't wear the headsets, but instead have the ATC audio on the speakers, and use hand mics.

The plot thickens!
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
The plot thickens!
Yes.....indeed!!! Thanks for all your research, this is a very good thread. Perhaps repetition is needed, now and then.

Hey, when I used to be a CFI....we had to teach, repeat.....teach, repeat.....teach, repeat!
 

KC-10FE

Senior Member.
Yes.....indeed!!! Thanks for all your research, this is a very good thread. Perhaps repetition is needed, now and then.

Hey, when I used to be a CFI....we had to teach, repeat.....teach, repeat.....teach, repeat!
I appreciate it, I didn't want to make it too long and in depth, especially for the non-flyers here. I found that one link really awesome, that shows the basic layout of ATC and how the different agencies work together to guide aircraft safely through controlled airspace. The fact that the Fed Ex video was modified from the original does not surprise me.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I appreciate it, I didn't want to make it too long and in depth, especially for the non-flyers here. I found that one link really awesome, that shows the basic layout of ATC and how the different agencies work together to guide aircraft safely through controlled airspace. The fact that the Fed Ex video was modified from the original does not surprise me.
Indeed. I'm on "record" on some of those YouTube videos, where I commented and added the reality (by linking the original Air India YT video). I use my original YT "handle" of 767Captain. Yeah...pretty uninspired, but it was what I retired as, from Continental.

It's my longest-running "Internet" meme-name, so far!! Guess I will keep it.

I am also the same person as "weedwhacker" (the garden tool, has nothing to do with marijuana) from ATS. Also, at ATS...I am "ProudBird".

Same person, in every case.

EDIT...feel free to send me a PM, if you want.
Regards, TJ
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
There is also the question of why the FedEx crew member decided to begin recording at that time. Either its a serendipitous moment that catches three aircraft the FedEx crew did not know were coming towards them, or they knew full well that this would be the case and thought it would make for some interesting video.

I would choose the later even if the entire radio conversation were not included..
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
There is also the question of why the FedEx crew member decided to begin recording at that time. Either its a serendipitous moment that catches three aircraft the FedEx crew did not know were coming towards them, or they knew full well that this would be the case and thought it would make for some interesting video.

I would choose the later even if the entire radio conversation were not included..
Wait a sec...I am quite familiar with this video. (The one posted in the OP, titled "Two Chemtrail Tanker Jets Almost Collide With FedEx")

I have debunked the way this original video has been mis-used, and lied about, in numerous other venues...primarily on YouTube. HERE is the original video, only about 60 seconds in length:

When you ask "...why did the FedEx crew member decided to begin recording at that time." You are missing a vital fact and detail, which I will explain. Again, referring to the original video, above...this is NOT onboard the FedEx jet, it is on the Flight Deck of the Air India jet.

Hence, the obvious and absurd (even possibly criminal?) lie of the person who took the original, and then altered its meaning and "truthiness".

As you might guess by my avatar, I am a (now retired) airline pilot, so I know a bit about what I write. When we are at cruise altitude, especially on longer flights, we usually remove our headsets, and the attached boom mics, and use hand mics to talk to ATC, and the speakers on the Flight Deck (usually they are overhead, but some airplane designs have them in the side panels, near the Captain's left leg, and the First Officer's right leg).

But in any event, with headsets off, we use speakers for the audio. AND when this shot from the Air India jet was filmed (videoed), what you hear on the soundtrack (the FedEx flight 5034) is coming from the speakers. Because, FedEx 5034 just happened to be on the same ATC frequency as the Air India flight.

Also, this FAKE video about the so-called "near collision" is just another example of the junk put on the Internet by someone who calls himself "TankerEnemy". I have researched this man too. He lives in Italy, and has a website by the same name, and he does this (in my opinion) to prey on gullibility of those who already believe in the myth of "chemtrails". Because (and you can check for yourself) he asks for "donations" at his web site. I think this is tantamount to fraud.
 
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jaydeehess

Senior Member.
My bad for blindly accepting the claim that it is videoed from the FedEx a/c. When will I learn?

Having worked at airports and with pilots I was aware that headsets come off.

I have seen your name on other forums I prowl weedwhacker.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Arrgh, could be, if ya's wants it ter be.
I have a favorite "pirate" joke, but that is best reserved for the "Chitchat" forum.

OK, intermission is over, back to topic!

I haven't checked yet, but related to the video in this thread's OP, and "Tanker Enemy"...maybe that guy ("TE") needs a thorough debunk, sometime soon?

EDIT: Another problem is, when considering YouTube, is that once the first HOAX video is posted, then anyone with the desire and skills can "mirror" that video, give it another title, and the original provenance is lost...not lost, but harder to track down.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
First day here and I show a propensity to take a thread off topic.

WRT the "civilian" airspace. That was one alarm bell that hit me as obvious tell that the author did not know what he was on about.
It seems its a twisting of the procedure by which civilian aircraft require clearance to enter designated military space, by which this author then assumes the inverse to also be true.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
First day here and I show a propensity to take a thread off topic.

WRT the "civilian" airspace. That was one alarm bell that hit me as obvious tell that the author did not know what he was on about.
It seems its a twisting of the procedure by which civilian aircraft require clearance to enter designated military space, by which this author then assumes the inverse to also be true.
Yes, I'd say that is a correct assumption, and just one of many "alarm bells" that show the bogosity of the claim. Of course, since I was able to find the original, unaltered video....I think it closes the case.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
I wish the public understood how much of what chemtrail promoters put out is just complete and utter fabrication... well... LIES!
 

KC-10FE

Senior Member.
First day here and I show a propensity to take a thread off topic.

WRT the "civilian" airspace. That was one alarm bell that hit me as obvious tell that the author did not know what he was on about.
It seems its a twisting of the procedure by which civilian aircraft require clearance to enter designated military space, by which this author then assumes the inverse to also be true.

If a theory or fact does not conform to their beliefs, even if it is a proven scientific FACT, they will modify and twist it as they see fit as to conveniently align it with their "cause." This is most recently illustrated in a video Mick had on another thread, made by a chemtrail believer stating that high bypass turbofan engines cannot make contrails, since the bypass and core air are somehow magically separated from each other as they exit the exhaust nozzle, when anyone with half an ounce of experience in the aerospace industry would tell you that the air mixes at the nozzle, creating a cooler exhaust temperatures, actually allowing MORE contrails over a wider range of altitudes and temperatures. The fact that modern high efficient turbofan engines create MORE contrails than older engines is a inconvenient fact for these people, and they will stop at nothing to deny it. The fact that these chemtrail believers are more than ready to purchase Stinger missiles to shoot down passenger airliners filled with innocent men, women and children (well documented on Youtube, Facebook and on this board) should be an indication of the sheer fanaticism of these people.
 
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