33

For the US, the FAA's Intercept Procedures list several things a pilot can indicate without radios: Acknowledge instructions: rock wings, flash nav lights Unable to land at indicated airport: flash landing lights Cannot comply: switch all lights on and off at regular intervals In distress: switch all lights on and off at irregular intervals


30

This is covered in the FAA's AIM, Chapter 5, Section 6. The UK has similar procedures. First, the standard guard frequency is 121.5 or 243.0 MHz. If you aren't listening to this frequency and get intercepted, you should start listening. Methods like LED signs or possibly as whiteboard as you suggested can also be used. Otherwise, they maneuver their ...


20

An interceptor can gain cooperation from an intercepted aircraft by means of a show of force ie forming up on the target’s 6 and 9 o clock position and attempting to contact them on the emergency radio channel. If the target remains unresponsive or refuses to comply, a fighter will often cut in front of its flight path in afterburner, causing the target ...


18

In the first scenario, where it sounds like you're assuming that the intruder aircraft is known to be hostile even without seeing it, a shot with a radar missile would be unaffected by the IMC, and that scenario is a pretty straight-forward kill. The hard part of IMC for a modern fighter aircraft isn't killing the target, it's getting the positive ID on it ...


16

There is nothing stopping a faster jet from flying a zigzag pattern behind an intercept target if the goal is to remain in close contact with it, but a large difference in airspeeds would indeed hamper some tasks like observing the cabin for signs of life or unlawful interference. So the answer is yes, a jet fighter cannot perform all the tasks involved in a ...


16

Military interception usually happens after failure to make the aircraft comply by other means (such as radio, light signals, flares). So, first and foremost it is one way to do visual communications, which is usually hard for the pilot to miss. The messages for follow (wide level turn), land (low pass, landing gear extended), and continue on course (...


15

The most common reason for interception is that an aircraft is not communicating with ATC and is somewhere that they aren't supposed to be. Often times it turns out to be unintentional with the aircraft on a VFR flight (i.e. poor flight planning or deviating for weather) and straying into a restricted or prohibited area. In these cases, the standard ...


14

The correct procedure for the interceptee would to follow the TCAS Resolution Advisory as they have generally no idea that they are being intercepted. The interceptor must ensure that no TCAS RA is generated by switching his transponder to the appropriate mode. This has been standard procedure since the introduction of TCAS. TCAS works by interrogating ...


12

If the article is to be believed, the gun was probably loaded with M55A1 training rounds which are a steel core projectile with an aluminum nose-cap used for target practice as opposed to the M56 HEI or M53 API rounds which the jet would go to war with. If it had either a full or partial magazine of the M55 ammunition, it would have had at least some ...


11

As far as I know, interception of civilian aircraft is done to assess a situation where the safe status of a flight is uncertain. A Vueling A320 got intercepted some time ago when the French ATC weren't able to communicate with the pilot. The same airline some time later got another interception by the Dutch. Intercepting the aircraft and watching the ...


11

Intercept geometry is the bubble of space in which the SA-2 missile can be effective against a specific aircraft. Crucial here is the detection range of the radar system guiding the missile, given here as 40 nm. Depending on the speed of the target, the missile has only a limited time to ascend to the altitude of the target and to close in. The combination ...


10

The jet fighters could harass the small plane, to the point of making it very clear: You will not get much farther on this path! Note what happens when the F-14s fly under the Zeroes here: The Zeroes aren't waggling their wings. This is an upset - they are being flipped over by the wake vortex from the Tomcats. The ...


10

ICAO describes the following distress signals in Annex 2 (Rules of the Air): The following signals, used either together or separately, mean that grave and imminent danger threatens, and immediate assistance is requested: a) a signal made by radiotelegraphy or by any other signalling method consisting of the group SOS (. ...


9

'Thumping' is an (unofficial) term for maneuvering the aircraft so that the other (target) aircraft is caught up in its wake. As a practice, it seems quite widespread, atleast during cold war scenarios, and is explained elsewhere: Aircrews call it “thumping” — the aviator’s version of a baseball hurler’s brushback pitch. A fighter jet zooms up behind a ...


7

AIM section 6 describes what the pilot in the intercepted plane should do: First thing the intercepting craft will do is rock the wings irregularly (and flash the nav lights at night) and initiate a turn (usually on the left). The intercepted aircraft should copy that and follow. That signals that an intercept has taken place and the other plane is ...


5

In a thump the jet positions itself slightly in front of, and under one wing. Works well on a prop aircraft, as the airflow is disrupted across the wing, making the plane fall, rather abruptly, 20 to 60 feet. Once it is clear of the wash, normal flight resumes. However, the jet can reposition itself again, for another thump. There is little risk to the ...


5

One large part of the reason to intercept any aircraft is to visually confirm the identity of the aircraft. While every other method of communication is valid in establishing the identity, only "eyes on" can unequivocally confirm the tail number and registration of the aircraft.


4

Military fighter jets are actually not all that fast, when they aren't supersonic. Their cruise speeds are below the cruise speed of airliners. Supersonic flight is mostly meant for interception, while combat speeds are subsonic. The best-range cruise speed for most fighters in the range of 300 knots, due to high drag. Below their cruise and maneuvering ...


4

Depending on aircraft type and weight, flaps down approach speeds for most military fighters is in the range of 120 to 150 KIAS. This is within the speed range of medium to higher performance GA aircraft, but a bit too fast for most fixed pitch prop, fixed landing gear aircraft in common use. Some fighters are quite controllable at high AoA at speeds lower ...


4

First off there are established interception procedures under international law so they are not going to shoot at you upon overtaking you. Typically an element of fighters form up on the jet with the leader maneuvering into formation on the jets 9 O’Clock and the Wingman stays on the jet’s six. They will do so in a manner which allows the intercepted ...


4

Yes it's legal in some countries/locations. In the US after Sept-11 Operation Noble Eagle expanded the US Air Force's role to providing air defense for the entire US domestic airspace. Flying into a Special Flight Rules Area (or whatever they are calling it this week!) such as that over Washington DC and or into the even more restrictive Washington, D.C. ...


4

There are some bases that are joint-use anyway, and in that case, it would be almost exactly like an emergency landing at a civilian field. Then most bases will do little if you are truly an emergency. The times this would come into play are sensitive bases such as Nellis AFB or Groom Lake, or bases that have significant national security interests, such as ...


3

To avoid an RA, the interceptor would almost certainly turn off at least his Mode C, and to avoid a TA and the concern in the intercepted aircraft of "what is this no-altitude traffic doing closing rapidly on me???" he will probably turn off his squawk altogether before he gets to the last few miles of the intercept. (There were cases years ago when TCAS ...


3

If the fighter has radar SA to the offending aircraft, it can very easily affect a radar interception and close to within up to .1NM of the bogey if a visual ID and escort are required. Otherwise, if a facility, such as an air intercept controller, has already deemed the aircraft to be hostile then the fighter will engage the aircraft as appropriate ...


3

The manoever in the movie is risky and unrealistic. What do you expect from Tom Cruise? ;-) There is indeed a Manual concerning Interception of Civil Aircraft governed by ICAO. It says: 4.1.2.1 The following method is recommended for the manoeuvring of intercepting aircraft for the purpose of visually identifying a civil aircraft: Phase I ...


3

A number of related questions has been asked and answered, addressing specific elements of interception: What's the point of intercepting an aircraft? How does a fighter “thump” an intercepted aircraft? What is the lowest-speed bogey a jet fighter can intercept/escort? A fighter wouldn't shoot at a private or commercial aircraft without intent to (...


2

Most escorts are actually unarmed. Fighters don't sit around in their home country with armaments on board. That could lead to incidents like this. Escorts are there primarily to provide eyes on the primary, attempt non-radio communication, and provide instant, reliable reports up the chain of command of anything that happens, such as course changes. ...


1

Commercial flights are very regular throughout the world. One sure fire way to signal "don't shoot me I'm in distress" would be to fly low, and slow. a 737 at 5000 AGL would certainly signal something is wrong (most of the time) and would certainly get someone's attention. Finding an airport and following the failed comms procedures and making a landing ...


1

9/11 changed the entire paradigm related to hijackings. Before that any hijacking was assumed to be so and so wanting to force the plane to go somewhere, where they would get off, or collect a ransom or whatever. It introduced the idea of airliners being turned into cruise missiles by suicidal hijackers to take out institutional structures. The 9/11 ...


1

An interception with an aircraft that's either on an unknown frequency, or non-responsive etc will be conducted on the emergency frequency of 121.5. Likewise, a pilot would be expected to tune into that frequency if they found themselves the subject of an interception. There is no other standard "air to air" frequency that's likely to be utilised. I'm aware ...


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