If you kids don't behave, I'm turning this plane around right this minute!
June 4, 2010 1:52 PM   Subscribe

How can I find out why this plane turned around in the middle of a long flight?

I like to take pictures of giant Russian cargo planes as they come in to land at Moffett Field, so I have FlightAware send me an email whenever one is scheduled to come in. While tracking this particular flight from Honolulu, though, I noticed that it had turned right around and is heading back. I want to know why. Mechanical problems? Did they forget some cargo? It's a flight on a Russian cargo airline so I doubt it'll get any major media coverage. So, I want to know about some other resources that I can keep a look out on for information. One place I can think of is the Airliners.net forums, but are there any other good places for these kinds of events?
posted by zsazsa to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Aviation Herald is great for these sorts of things, though I don't see anything for this incident (they mostly do passenger flights, so cargo incidents might not be listed).

The site was previously discussed on the blue.
posted by zachlipton at 1:57 PM on June 4, 2010

Well, it looks like the plane is going in the normal direction now. I guess I'll just chalk it up to a momentary glitch in the tracking, something that probably isn't rare with Russian cargo planes in the middle of the Pacific. Good answers, though, I'll keep an eye on them.
posted by zsazsa at 2:19 PM on June 4, 2010

Can we see your pictures of giant Russian cargo planes?
posted by nitsuj at 2:53 PM on June 4, 2010

Nevermind. Found it! Very cool.
posted by nitsuj at 2:53 PM on June 4, 2010

Underwhelming cell phone video of the plane in question, arriving on time.
posted by zsazsa at 5:04 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

There is no radar over of the ocean, so presumably FlightAware is working off of track estimates of some kind, probably shifting between various datastreams (ACARS, ARINC, FAA, whatever) and often corrects itself somewhere around the halfway point on that route. I've seen FlightAware do this often, and it's just a fluke in the tracker.
posted by crapmatic at 5:22 PM on June 4, 2010

If you have some $60,000 or so, a steal at the price, you can buy your own Ukrainian cargo plane in our town. It's been seized by the sheriff to execute on a judgment for unpaid mechanics' bills incurred in Texas.
posted by yclipse at 6:39 PM on June 4, 2010

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