The Iranian plane, belonging to Mahan Air, was heading from Tehran to Beirut on Thursday when the pilot staged a safety manoeuver, in an incident that Iran's Foreign Ministry said would be investigated. ... Central Command spokesman, said the F-15 "conducted a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of about 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) from the airliner this evening". "The visual inspection occurred to ensure the safety of coalition personnel at Tanf garrison," ... "Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft." He added the intercept was carried out in accordance with international standards.
My questions are the following:
- Is there such thing as "standard visual inspection" at all? Is it normal in such circumstances? What's its purpose and how necessary is it?
- Isn't there any other method to this end, instead of "visual inspection"?
- Is "1,000 metres" distance considered "safe" for such conditions?
- In what conditions do passenger airliners stage a "safety manoeuver" like this?
- Are there similar incidents? Some military aircraft approaches an airliner to "inspect" it and see if it has really passengers on-board, in a manner they consider "safe" and "in accordance to international standards". The airliner considers this "unsafe" and stages a "safety maneuver", leading to injuries.