TV signal relay plane flying over northwestern Belgium as Police raid in Brussels kills Paris attacks suspect

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One of our readers has noted something interesting in the skies over Belgium.

Our reader Guglielmo Guglielmi has noted something noteworthy in the airspace of northwestern Belgium: a Beech E90 King Air is orbiting south of Ostenda at 8,600 feet.

Anything special? Most probably not.

The aircraft is operated by Aero Softravia, a company specialized in aerial work, including TV signal relay, maritime air observation RAMMAO (Recensement des Mammifères Marins et autre mégafaune par Observation Aérienne), thermal vision as well as aerial photography.

This means that the aircraft might be involved in several different activities, none of which is likely related to the raids in progress across Belgium to arrest the Paris attacks suspects.

However, the activity of the aircraft often used to relay TV signals to other aircraft and ground stations provides an opportunity to discuss about the “threat” posed by aircraft involved in live broadcast of  terrorist attacks.

When news aircraft appears on the scene (sometimes faster than Police ones), the route of the aircraft gathered by via ADS-B could expose the location where Police is about to conduct a raid: more or less the same kind of OPSEC failure that occurs each time a U.S. Special Operations plane is orbiting over a target either in Northern Africa or Afghanistan, exposing its presence not only to the aviation enthusiasts like Guglielmi, but also to the terrorists targeted by the military.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.