I have seen this Beechcraft Super King Air coming from France near Valenciennes and flying in circular patterns over a zone of Belgium for 2 days in a row now.

What is it doing, some kind of aerial survey ?

day1 day2

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Maybe he/she is just building hours, and while doing it, having a nap... $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Aug 18, 2020 at 15:45
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Aerial survey usually looks like this: Why did this aircraft fly in this pattern over Southern Italy? This looks different. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Aug 18, 2020 at 15:46
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ I would've guessed filming a cycling tournament if it wasn't for the altitude. $\endgroup$
    – Sanchises
    Aug 18, 2020 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ Geez that's me on a typical cross country! $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Aug 18, 2020 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ My guess is if it was circling a major cycle race, it would have equipment on board to serve a a relay station for a TV channel. I've come across this several times in my contry, South Africa. $\endgroup$
    – Raffles
    Aug 18, 2020 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


It's acting as a television broadcast relay for the 2020 Tour de Wallonie cycling race, taking place in Belgium from August 16 through August 19.

aerial television broadcast relay diagram

The flight paths you posted correspond roughly to the race routes for stage 2 (August 17, Frasnes-lez-Anvaing to Wavre) and stage 3 (August 18, Montzen to Visé).

2020 Tour de Wallonie Stage 2 route map

2020 Tour de Wallonie Stage 3 route map

Here you can see a photo of what one of these broadcast planes looks like, with retractable underbelly antenna:

King Air B200 with underbelly antenna

  • 15
    $\begingroup$ Thank you - I've come from the bicycles.SE side and had never thought about how those high bandwidth video signals come from the motorbikes to the viewer. $\endgroup$
    – Criggie
    Aug 19, 2020 at 4:51
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I always assumed they used some short-range radio signals to a stationary TV truck with satellite dishes (or cable internet connection). $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Aug 19, 2020 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ @TypeIA: Yes, I’m just surprised they are using aerial relays instead of ground relays. I guess it’s just more reliable since you can pretty much always guarantee line of sight. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Aug 19, 2020 at 7:17
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    $\begingroup$ Liking the sly TV in the serial number : ) $\endgroup$
    – Cloud
    Aug 19, 2020 at 8:33
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisH The trucks act as field-studios with operators and a director. Various feeds from the mobile units are combined and only a few choice feeds go on the (usually bandwidth limited) satellite uplink. The finish line truck usually handles finish-line interviews, the award ceremony and the live commentary for the various TV stations that will further distribute the live (or recorded) broadcast. The trucks also can process feeds of fixed camera's nearby. That's why you often have them located at summits in mountain races. $\endgroup$
    – Tonny
    Aug 19, 2020 at 13:19

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