Disappearing Falcons near Bournemouth, UK [Limited MLAT Coverage]

Efftup

Senior Member.
I was just intrigued as to if anyone could find an explanation for something I saw on FR24 today.

I was just randomly monitoring air traffic round my area, and I found 3 Dassault Falcons which , according to the tracks, had started in a field.
None of them had registration numbers available.


This was between 12:30 and 1pm GMT.
The tracks started just East of Ringwood. if you are going towards Ringwood on the A31, opposite the turn off to Hangersley, just after the turn off that says Hightown Hill, in an area marked on Google maps as Forest corner is where the tracks started from.
They seem to have taken off fairly closely spaced.
They were all Dassault Falcon 20-5s, flying approximately 8-10,000ft.
They headed over Weymouth and then out over the Channel where they disappeared.

I am guessing the disappearance from FR24 is due to the type of transponder and the height, but I was very surprised that no registration numbers were available.
Other planes round the South of England that didn't have a call sign or air route and were small light aircraft like Grob 115s and a 1965 Beechcraft (according to me looking up the registration on Google) all showed the plane's registration.
 
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Efftup

Senior Member.
On playing back the FR24 data, the tracks don;t all seem to start in the EXACT same place. I am guessinf they took off from somewhere else and only get picked up when get high enough, the first one that appears at about 12:41pm is at about 5,000ft and still climbing when t first appears out of nowhere.
I am still trying to work out where they might have taken off from (It's always possible they didn't ALL come from the same place either).
 

cloudspotter

Senior Member.
Haven't you heard of the New Forest Triangle? ;)

Seriously though, I don't think the altitude has anything to do with the disappearance. Did you have any filters on?
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
No. no filters. I was under the impression that any plane that does not have an ADS-B Transponder, but has a different type I can't remember will only be picked up if 4 receivers can see it. (this was the source for some chemtrail conspiracies regarding Flybe planes supposedly turning off their transponders so you couldn't see where they landed.)
i just checked and FR-24 says this:

MLAT
In some regions with coverage from several FR24-receivers we also calculate positions of non-ADS-B equipped aircraft with the help of Multilateration(MLAT), by using a method known as Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA). By measuring the difference in time to receive the signal from aircraft with an older ModeS-transponder, it's possible to calculate the position of these aircraft. Four FR24-receivers or more, receiving signals from the same aircraft, are needed to make MLAT work. That means that MLAT coverage can only be achieved above about 5,000-10,000 feet as the probability that signal can be received by four or more receivers increases with increased altitude.

Most parts of Europe are today covered with MLAT above about 5,000-10,000 feet. There is also some MLAT coverage in North America, Mexico, Australia and Brazil. More areas will get MLAT coverage during 2014 and 2015.
Content from External Source
when you click on one of the Falcons, it does say MLAT in the radar box.
This makes sense as they are picked up at just under 5000ft but disappear over the channel at 8000-9000ft just as they are about to cross the Portsmouth-Santander Ferry route.

There's a good chance they landed in Guernsey or somewhere in Northern France, as if I keep watching the playback they don't seem to reappear anywhere in the direction they were flying.

Had another odd one as well as a Piper that took off from Oxford seemed to actually overfly Bristol Airport without landing and then head back North again. Maybe it was a learner pilot who chickened and had to abort landing but there wasn't space with air traffic for them to go round and try again.
 

cloudspotter

Senior Member.
No. no filters. I was under the impression that any plane that does not have an ADS-B Transponder, but has a different type I can't remember will only be picked up if 4 receivers can see it. (this was the source for some chemtrail conspiracies regarding Flybe planes supposedly turning off their transponders so you couldn't see where they landed.)
i just checked and FR-24 says this:

MLAT
In some regions with coverage from several FR24-receivers we also calculate positions of non-ADS-B equipped aircraft with the help of Multilateration(MLAT), by using a method known as Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA). By measuring the difference in time to receive the signal from aircraft with an older ModeS-transponder, it's possible to calculate the position of these aircraft. Four FR24-receivers or more, receiving signals from the same aircraft, are needed to make MLAT work. That means that MLAT coverage can only be achieved above about 5,000-10,000 feet as the probability that signal can be received by four or more receivers increases with increased altitude.

Most parts of Europe are today covered with MLAT above about 5,000-10,000 feet. There is also some MLAT coverage in North America, Mexico, Australia and Brazil. More areas will get MLAT coverage during 2014 and 2015.
Content from External Source
when you click on one of the Falcons, it does say MLAT in the radar box.
This makes sense as they are picked up at just under 5000ft but disappear over the channel at 8000-9000ft just as they are about to cross the Portsmouth-Santander Ferry route.

There's a good chance they landed in Guernsey or somewhere in Northern France, as if I keep watching the playback they don't seem to reappear anywhere in the direction they were flying.

That makes sense - I was assuming that they'd have ADS-B. I'd been wondering about Jersey or Guernsey too but I didn't notice them starting a descent before disappearing.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
I notice they're all climbing and heading away from Southampton Airport
Yes of course, I keep forgetting Southampton Airport is actually in Eastleigh. That would make sense as to why they start that far North.

I was looking for a descent too, the distance from Guernsey, but maybe it's Northern France somewhere.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
Because Bournemouth and Southampton are both on the South coast, I also have a tendency to think of them as basically the same latitude, even though that is totally not the case.
 

Balance

Senior Member.
It's from Hurn, I'll bet. They're (Falcons based at Hurn BOH/Bournemouth) regularly used and seen flying, often in formation (up to five is most I've seen). Can get more details if required but do know they run counter-measures and other exercises for military training purposes which maybe explains the unusual FR24 information?

Dassault Falcon 20 operated by Cobham Services out of Bournemouth. It is operated to provide realistic electronic warfare training for the armed forces. They often operate with the Royal Navy and the Air Force over the English Channel and the North Sea.
Content from External Source
ETA: I saw two Falcons approaching BOH this AM appx 30mins apart.

This old video shows one taking off while another waits his turn to depart
 
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sharpnfuzzy

Active Member
Not every FR24 receiver is capable of/or used to supply multilateration data. Because MLAT works on timing differences in the received signals, the receiver locations have to be very precisely known and their times have to be synchronized (or deltas known at least). If I recall correctly, until late 2013 only F-XXXX stations could be used for MLAT, that has probably changed now although my own T- station is not MLAT capable because I'm not using the equipment supplied by FR24.

So it's possible that the disappearance was caused just by the aircraft flying out of the range of one of the 4 MLAT capable receivers.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
It's from Hurn, I'll bet. They're (Falcons based at Hurn BOH/Bournemouth) regularly used and seen flying, often in formation (up to five is most I've seen). Can get more details if required but do know they run counter-measures and other exercises for military training purposes which maybe explains the unusual FR24 information?

Dassault Falcon 20 operated by Cobham Services out of Bournemouth. It is operated to provide realistic electronic warfare training for the armed forces. They often operate with the Royal Navy and the Air Force over the English Channel and the North Sea.
Content from External Source
ETA: I saw two Falcons approaching BOH this AM appx 30mins apart.

This old video shows one taking off while another waits his turn to depart
I was thinking Southampton would have made more sense but if the runway at Hurn is West to East, which seems common, then they would have to loop round i a way that would would fit with them appearing at 5,000ft nr Ringwood. Today there was definitely a "formation" of 3. I did definitely see another Falcon that had left Hurn a bit later and done a big loop over the Southern part of Dorset/Somerset.

Thanks for clearing that up. I wasn't aware so much military traffic went near Hurn but I just found a Navy Sea King that had left there recently too.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
When they "vanish" it's the lowest plane that vanishes first, which makes sense with MLAT being limited both by distance and altitude.
 

Balance

Senior Member.
(Bear with me on this pre-amble but feel free to skip to the last para) On Tuesday a loud and fast jet passed over/near my abode which often has me scrambling to get out the front door for a glimpse. As is often the case, they're so fast it's often out of sight by the time I get to look up. However, moments later I heard a second following the same path (which was a b-line to Bournemouth Airport). If the cloud cover wasn't so low I'm sure I would have spotted at least the second one, if not the tail of the first as it disappeared. If I had to guess what they were I would have likely gone for a supersonic jet such as Tornado or Typhoon. (Back indoors, I fired up FR24 but there was no sign of what they were)

So I was pleasantly surprised (and frustrated at the same time) to learn I'd missed seeing a pair of USAF Eagles (F-15's) which had requested a fly past from BOH and according to reports also buzzed other parts of the neighbourhood.

Fortunately, I have today learned about a similar online tracker to FR24 which does show these jets though it seems limited to specific airports/airspace. For instance, if you go to http://webtrak5.bksv.com/boh (replace the last three letters with your desired airport code for other views) and set the date/time to 27thJan 14:05 you will eventually see "Jungle21" and it's twin come into view approaching from the south east. I don't know if this is news to any of you but I've not seen it mentioned before and thought it worth a share.
 

TEEJ

Senior Member.
(Bear with me on this pre-amble but feel free to skip to the last para) On Tuesday a loud and fast jet passed over/near my abode which often has me scrambling to get out the front door for a glimpse. As is often the case, they're so fast it's often out of sight by the time I get to look up. However, moments later I heard a second following the same path (which was a b-line to Bournemouth Airport). If the cloud cover wasn't so low I'm sure I would have spotted at least the second one, if not the tail of the first as it disappeared. If I had to guess what they were I would have likely gone for a supersonic jet such as Tornado or Typhoon. (Back indoors, I fired up FR24 but there was no sign of what they were)

So I was pleasantly surprised (and frustrated at the same time) to learn I'd missed seeing a pair of USAF Eagles (F-15's) which had requested a fly past from BOH and according to reports also buzzed other parts of the neighbourhood.

Thanks for that link. The F-15s from RAF Lakenheath certainly got the locals and the local media fired up.

The initial headline in the Bournemouth Echo was the following. It has since been updated with the headline now removed. :)

"Fighter jets scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers over Bournemouth"

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/ne...e_residents_in_Bournemouth_and_Poole/?ref=mac

All over social media and the internet the die-hards won't believe that the USAF F-15s had nothing to do with the later intercept of two Russian Air Force Tu-95MS Bear Hs in international airspace off Bournemouth. The intercept was conducted by RAF Quick Reaction Alert Eurofighter Typhoons as per normal.
 

Balance

Senior Member.
The intercept was conducted by RAF Quick Reaction Alert Eurofighter Typhoons as per normal.

While you could perhaps forgive Bomo Echo for the over-excitement, I believe the BBC initially said on national TV news that it was Tornado's that were scrambled for the intercept :rolleyes: Unforgiveable on too many levels.

ETA - Oh and ps, the F-15's were on Tuesday (27th) - I believe the Bears visited the South Coast later on Wednesday (28th).

ETA(A) @Efftup If you do replay the WebTrak for the F-15's you may notice at least one of those Falcons (FA20) also in the air around that time.
 
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Efftup

Senior Member.
Have they retired all the F3 Tornados then? Still wrong. The Daily Mail (I don't read it, it was the first internet article that popped up) said it was Typhoons sent from Lossiemouth and Coningsby.
i haven;t had a chance to look at that track yet

actually if you look at the article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...th-RAF-jets-scramble-intercept-intruders.html you will clearly see a NEW conspiracy I am just starting. The Typhoon is just a rebodied 1940's Typhoon. If you watch the video from 13 seconds to about 20 seconds, you can clearly see the tip of the propeller going round!!! and don;t give me this aerodynamic contrail rubbish.. :D
 
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Balance

Senior Member.

Defence group BAE Systems has signed a £125m, three-year extension to its contract with the Ministry of Defence to maintain Britain’s fleet of frontline fighter-bombers until they are taken out of service in 2019.

The deal builds on a contract which began in 2006 to service the Royal Air Force’s Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers jets until 2016
Content from External Source
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/...3/BAE-wins-deal-to-service-RAFs-Tornados.html

Although I've not confirmed it, it was reported on national news that Tornados were sent to help combat ISIS last year.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.

Defence group BAE Systems has signed a £125m, three-year extension to its contract with the Ministry of Defence to maintain Britain’s fleet of frontline fighter-bombers until they are taken out of service in 2019.

The deal builds on a contract which began in 2006 to service the Royal Air Force’s Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers jets until 2016
Content from External Source
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/...3/BAE-wins-deal-to-service-RAFs-Tornados.html

Although I've not confirmed it, it was reported on national news that Tornados were sent to help combat ISIS last year.
Yeah, ground role (GR) Tornados are in use bur all the fighter interceptors have been scrapped.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
Yeah, ground role (GR) Tornados are in use bur all the fighter interceptors have been scrapped.
The F3 was crap anyway as a fighter.

GR4 however would probably struggle to intercept a TU-95 anyway, as while it is a great CAS platform, not brilliant at speed...
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
Well it was never intended to be an air superiority fighter, just an interceptor, and I am sure it did fine at that.
GR Tornados have always been great at the job they were designed to do but you would never send one on an Intercept mission.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
My dad used to work at Boscombe Down, I had to drive past Boscombe with my Girlfriend JUST to see if they still had the Lightning as the gate guard. They did but you couldn't see it clearly cos they changed ALL the roads round there a few years back.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
Nice, and you reminded me of this one, its at Castle Air car show room nr Liskeard in Cornwall. My folks lived a few miles away and when I went to visit I would take their dog for a long walk just to have a look at it.

anyway this thread is about vanishing falcons not Lightnings so i'll return you to the original topic....
 
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Efftup

Senior Member.
Remember that time Jeremy clarkson bought a Lightning?
I can't post a video as that would be off topic.
THIS:







Was a picture of a Dassault Falcon but it dissappeared.
:D. See Mick and Landru? We are still on topic really. :cool:
 

Balance

Senior Member.
Russians been at it again according to UK news - off the Cornwall coast this time. Funny how we had our PM give this "news" a mention and ended his rhetoric implying we shouldn't give this non-story any airtime :confused:

Fortunately, the russian fly-trolls got the requesite "pics or it never happened" proof.

 

BombDr

Senior Member.
Russians been at it again according to UK news - off the Cornwall coast this time. Funny how we had our PM give this "news" a mention and ended his rhetoric implying we shouldn't give this non-story any airtime :confused:

Fortunately, the russian fly-trolls got the requesite "pics or it never happened" proof.

I'm no DC fanboy, but I think he was responding to a journalist's question....
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
That's quite a cool shot through the propellers of the plane. I love the slow motion stroboscopic effect.
 

Balance

Senior Member.
I'm no DC fanboy, but I think he was responding to a journalist's question....
Fair enough, I only saw BBC news edited version (without leading question).

That's quite a cool shot through the propellers of the plane. I love the slow motion stroboscopic effect.
Yes, it's a great example/demonstration of it; I believe it's called Rolling Shutter Effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_shutter something that plagues us multirotor users wanting to get some decent aerial photography aka "Jello" due to the added vibrations.
 

TEEJ

Senior Member.
That Russian footage is from the 28th January English Channel mission. The Typhoon with the FB on the tail was one of the Typhoons scrambled from RAF Coningsby.
 

TEEJ

Senior Member.
The following is a classic case of poor aircraft recognition involving the Bear Cornwall mission on the 18th Feb.

Russian bomber flew inland over Cornwall, witness claims

At least one of the two Russian Bear bombers that were escorted away from the Cornish coast entered British airspace, a witness has claimed, contrary to the official version of events.

“We were in St Eval when we saw a big black plane that looked like a tank. We thought: where’s that going? It was going along [the route of] the A30,” she said. “As we drove on the big black plane came back again. As Claire [Bamford’s driving instructor] took over to drive back we saw a silver plane, which was the Bear bomber. It’s travelling at the bottom of the St Mawgan valley so we can see it’s not out to sea, it’s in the valley. It’s long and thin, it’s got swept-back wings.”
Content from External Source
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...mber-flew-inland-cornwall-uk-airspace-witness

The reality is that she was seeing an aircraft but it was the RAF Voyager tanker that was supporting the RAF Typhoons shadowing the two Tu-95s. The sun would have been low in the sky and possibly the light reflection off the Voyager gave the impression of a "silver plane"?

 

Balance

Senior Member.
I saw three FA20's go out yesterday (on FR24) and during a visit to watch and record the almighty 747-8 VQ-BSK dust-off @13:15 (to spray Terry Lawton on it's way to limerick), saw one of the falcons return.
 
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