Flying in Circles

By John Wiley

Sometimes ATC will tell an inbound pilot to fly a “360” for good spacing between inbound aircraft. Sometimes a pilot will request clearance from ATC to fly in circles near an airport or flight corridor. Sometimes a pilot will fly in circles due to a problem (landing gear, mechanical, electrical, etc.).

This afternoon an aircraft flew a circle near our house (154@101). My ear perked up but I didn’t think much about it. Then it circled again. Many more times. To get a better idea of what it was about I first checked on Edhat. Not apparently related to the article about NASA oil research today, so I grabbed the camera and went out to snap these pix to send Ed and maybe get some solid info from our remarkable Edhat community.

As you can see from the track, it was below 3,000′ or so. As you can make out in my pix, it has some sort of camera or sensor hanging off the empennage (tail section) that seemed to be tracking a point somewhere in the circle.

So, any ideas or info?


Written by John Wiley

What do you think?


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