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Last night around 24.00 I noticed a plane flying very low over my house. Intrigued, I tracked the flight on FlightRadar and went digging for records. It turned out to be Cessna 560 Citation Encore+, registered to Aerowest (a German charter operator) with C-DAWR as registration. It took off from Hannover international airport a few minutes after 11. Over the course of the next few hours, the plane exhibited some very strange behavior:

  • It circled over Barendrecht 5 times
  • It looped over Amsterdam Schiphol airport, passing directly over one of the main runways at an altitude of ~700ft at its lowest
  • From 00.25-00.37, it climbed 34.825ft

It then proceeded back to Hannover, landing exactly two hours after it took off.

I read on Wikipedia that some of the Cessna 560 models are used by the US military, but they don't appear to have any based in Europe, and there isn't an air base in Hannover. Aerowest appears to be civilian operator. What could be an explanation for this flight?

Image source

Altitude Flight path

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    $\begingroup$ This is likely a textbook example of nothing more than a training flight. $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2021 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ My first thought was night training with approaches and holds too. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Jun 11, 2021 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ ...and a missed approach thrown in for good measure. $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2021 at 13:42

1 Answer 1

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It only looks strange to a non aviator

This is a pretty typical training/practice/burn some fuel flight. What actually happened;

  • they were inbound to the airport and likely issued a hold south of Roterdam to decent
  • They exited the hold and were vectored onto the approach for runway 06 at Schiphol airport.
  • Executed a nice stepped decent on approach
  • Either did a touch and go or executed a missed approach (hard to say but they came down pretty low)
  • Winds were likely calm and it looks like they came back for a landing/low approach on runway 27.
  • Touch and go/go around/missed and back home to where ever they started.

This is pretty standard, maybe the pilot needed to keep his IFR currency or just wanted to get some practice holds and approaches in

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I guess I was mostly confused because it happened at night $\endgroup$
    – Benthlin
    Jun 11, 2021 at 22:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Benthlin in some jurisdictions night currency is separate from day currency so you need to do a certain amount of flying at night as well as in the day. It may also be the case that it was simply when the pilots had free time to deal with the practice flight. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Jun 12, 2021 at 17:13

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