Friday, December 23, 2005

Slight Update

Well, that wasn't very impressive, was it? So far, I've yet to get an answer from the Romanians regarding 3C-QRF, if you don't count MS Outlook Out of Office flags. But, somebody has noticed - I keep noticing people from the Romanian Civil Aviation Authority searching the web for 3C-QRF, which I suppose suggests action of a sort. TYR will observe its traditional Christmas ceasefire as of tomorrow evening for 36 hours, but when we open up again there will be another plane on the list, with photos and an explanation.

In other news, Tony Blair has been playing the stupid card to protect himself over the CIA prison flights affair. Apparently he knows nothing, couldn't find out anything, and so forth. (As if we didn't know that already.) Various ministries have piously declared that - we're sorry - we don't keep records "unless people leave the airfield" or some such. But there are certainly records of which aircraft have visited the UK.

Every flight under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), which essentially means all commercial flights and practically all international flights (and certainly all transatlantic flights), must file a flight plan with the air traffic control authorities on its route. This document details the route to be followed, the aircraft type and registration, the navigation aids involved, the timings and the person filing the plan. It can be amended in flight, but one has to exist, and if the route passes through the British CAA's area of responsibility - concretely, NATO's Air Policing Area 9, which is rather more than the UK Flight Information Region. (I may be wrong with regard to whether flights that traverse APA9 but not the UK FIR need to file with the UK National Air Traffic Services - anyway, this is an extremely unlikely case)

So, the records exist and NATS has them. I'm not sure how long they are archived for, but certainly they exist, and they cover all the flights in this case.

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