I live in the suburbs of London in Greenford (near RAF Northolt Base) and today I heard a droning sounds which, albeit from my limited experience, sounded like a propeller plane. I checked my generic flight radar application on my smart phone, no result. I then checked the ADS-B tracking website which identifies most military aircraft that aren't flying covertly but, again, no result.

I did manage to take a picture of the aircraft and it looks like a small passenger turboprop plane - so any ideas about what aircraft this is and why it wouldn't be showing up on any radars? It does not seem like a stealthy fighter jet by any means.

enter image description here enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Was the bottom of the body bright red? (I assume your eyesight is better than mine in combination with the picture.) $\endgroup$ – Keep these mind Aug 26 '17 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ Seems to be dark blue $\endgroup$ – Daniel K Aug 26 '17 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ The Let L-410 looks similar - possibly military personel transportation? I know the German airforce uses these $\endgroup$ – Daniel K Aug 26 '17 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ My guess is that it is an "old timer". Things to work on: - the wing is elliptical - the vertical tail is rounded - the engines seem to be almost as large as the cockpit - the horizontal tail seems to have some kind of simmetrical feature - it has a low tail, not a T-tail $\endgroup$ – Federico Aug 26 '17 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ I uploaded another image. On this one it doesn't seem so elliptical and the vertical stabiliser seems to have some sort of circle icon. I thought for a moment it might be a Britten-Norman? I guess the jury is still out. $\endgroup$ – Daniel K Aug 26 '17 at 20:52

A long shot, but perhaps it's an Avro Anson, a true "old timer" from WWII and used by the RAF no less.

Image credits all from Wikipedia

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry to bring up an old thread but what about an Embraer EMB 121 Xingu? I saw one flying today in the same area from the French Air Force. $\endgroup$ – Daniel K Sep 19 '18 at 9:00

I'm going to hazard a guess here, but that's likely the best you will get unless someone tracks down a photo of a plane with a matching paint scheme.

Here's my thought process:

  • tapered, low wings
  • engine nacelles are almost as long as the nose, which narrows things down a bit
  • engine nacelles are relatively large in size, so it's...
    1. probably piston engined
    2. probably fairly small, maybe 6 passengers?
  • vertical tail looks swept
  • horizontal tail is placed low, and is at least as wide as the engine nacelles
  • fuselage tapers from the trailing wing root to the tail

As far as I can tell, it looks an awful lot like a Beechcraft Baron.

Image credit: AOPA

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    $\begingroup$ The wingtips look more tapered and the nose more boxy than the Baron to my eye, but I could well be wrong. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Aug 27 '17 at 3:43
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, could be. Without a higher quality photo, this is really just an exercise in futility. My other guess was a smaller Cessna twin, but not much lined up. $\endgroup$ – egid Aug 27 '17 at 4:12
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    $\begingroup$ Better match than the King Air, but still: The trailing edge of the rudder looks rounded, not straight like in the Baron. I'm not convinced. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Aug 27 '17 at 5:13
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    $\begingroup$ @egid: Yes, I thought for a moment it could be a Cessna T-50, but the fuselage nose is much longer. Still, the round wingtips and vertical suggest an older design, from the 40s or 50s. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Aug 27 '17 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf I think the round tail is just blurred overexposure; note the apparent 'dent' in the left tailplane. $\endgroup$ – Sanchises Aug 27 '17 at 8:36

Given its proportions and size, as well as the shape of the wing platform, I might guess a Beech King Air C90.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ to me it does not have the right shape of wings/tail $\endgroup$ – Federico Aug 27 '17 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ And the engine nacelles look too slender. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Oct 26 '17 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry to bring up an old thread but what about an Embraer EMB 121 Xingu? I saw one flying today in the same area from the French Air Force. $\endgroup$ – Daniel K Sep 19 '18 at 9:01

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