A military airbus issued a ‘squawk’ emergency signal while flying over the UK at 5,000ft. The RAF plane took off from RAF Brize Norton at 4.17pm on Thursday, with flight tracks providing evidence that it made a series of circles around Cheltenham, Gloucester.
During the two hours it was in the sky, the Atlas C1 sent a 7700 signal, which is used to alert air traffic control that there is an emergency on board. A 7700 code usually means a problem with the plane, according to Daily Express.
It comes just days after an RAF Typhoon fighter jet was forced to turn around and return to base after admitting a ‘scream’. An RAF Coningsby spokesman said the pilot reported fumes in the cockpit and landed safely.
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RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is the largest RAF base in the country. Atlas C1 aircraft carriers are capable of carrying a payload of 37 tons over 2,000 nautical miles and can reach altitudes of 40,000 feet.
The planes can accommodate 116 fully equipped soldiers, as well as a Chinook helicopter or nine pallets and 54 passengers.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘Today a wildcat helicopter was on a routine sortie over Somerset levels by a qualified test pilot. During this pre-planned flight, a test transponder routine has been performed.”
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