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Russian plane crash: Theories on why the jet disintegrated in midair


             

 

I am often asked about my take on aircraft incidents. As a military pilot with over 33000 hours of flight time I have seen many crash sites and have been involved in several military investigations as to the cause of the crash.

The theories from major media sources on what may have brought down Metrojet Flight 9268 run the gamut, from a fuel tank explosion to a missile from the ground. But they fall short of what may be and explosive theory. A mid-air Drone Strike may have been the cause of the crash.

Now I am not talking about a missile from a drone, however i will not rule that out, but rather a mid air collision with a drone operating in the area. 

First lets look at some facts as reported by CNN,

By Jethro Mullen, Catherine E. Shoichet and Holly Yan, CNN 

 

 

 

21 photos: Russian plane crashes in Egypt

 

 

 

 Russian officials say it's too soon to tell what made the passenger jet plunge to the ground Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.

Aviation experts agree, and officials have downplayed an apparent claim by Islamic militants that they brought down the Airbus A321-200, saying technical failure is the most likely reason for the crash.

Here's the latest on what we know:

 The flight

 Flight 9268 was on its way from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg early Saturday when it dropped off radar about 23 minutes into the flight, Egyptian officials say.

 

Air traffic controllers apparently didn't receive any distress calls.

"There was nothing abnormal before the plane crash," Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamel said Saturday. "It suddenly disappeared from the radar."

The website Flightradar24, which tracks aircraft around the world, said it had received data from the Russian plane suggesting sharp changes in altitude and a dramatic decrease in ground speed before the signal was lost.

 

The crash

 A U.S. satellite that was over Sinai at the time of the crash detected a heat flash, according to a U.S. official directly familiar with the latest information in the investigation.

The theories on what may have brought down Metrojet Flight 9268 run the gamut, from a fuel tank explosion to a missile from the ground.

  

Russian officials say it's too soon to tell what made the passenger jet plunge to the ground Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.

Aviation experts agree, and officials have downplayed an apparent claim by Islamic militants that they brought down the Airbus A321-200, saying technical failure is the most likely reason for the crash.

Here's the latest on what we know:

U.S. intelligence and military officials are analyzing the data to determine whether the flash occurred in midair or on the ground and what that can tell them about what happened to the plane, the official said.

Analysts say heat flashes could be tied to a range of possibilities: a missile firing, a bomb blast, a malfunctioning engine exploding, a structural problem causing a fire on the plane or wreckage hitting the ground.

"The number of heat signatures is crucial," said CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien. "If, in fact, only one was detected, that in some respects might steer one away from a missile launch and onto some idea of an explosion onboard the aircraft."

 

Russian jet crash investigation -- the key question

A top Russian aviation official has said the plane broke apart in midair.

Metrojet official Alexander Smirnov said the airline had ruled out technical problems and human error. Protection systems on the plane would have prevented it from crashing, he said, even if there were major errors in the pilot's control equipment.

CNN aviation analyst Peter Goelz said the disaster could have resulted from "some sort of catastrophic failure, perhaps caused by an earlier maintenance problem. It could have been a center fuel tank that might have exploded."

 

Russian plane crash: Quest finds it mysterious

 

The plane

 The A321-200 was built in 1997, and the airline company Kogalymavia, which flies under the name Metrojet, had been operating it since 2012, Airbus said. The aircraft had clocked around 56,000 flight hours over the course of nearly 21,000 flights, the plane maker said.

And so far, officials have said all its inspections were in order.

The aircraft passed a routine inspection before takeoff, Egyptian Airports Co. chief Adel Al-Mahjoob said Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

Report: Russian plane's condition concerned co-pilot 03:29

According to the Aviation Safety Network, which tracks aircraft incidents, the same plane's tail struck a runway while landing in Cairo in 2001 and required repair. At the time, the aircraft was registered to the Lebanese carrier Middle East Airlines, registration records show.

Kogalymavia's Andrei Averyanov said the plane had been damaged in 2001, but had most recently been thoroughly checked for cracks in 2013. Not enough time had passed for major cracks to develop to a critical size since then, he said.

Smirnov said that he had personally flown the plane in recent months and that it was "pristine."

 

The victims

 There were 217 passengers and seven crew members on board Flight 9268. Of the passengers, 209 were Russian, four were Ukrainian and one was Belarusian. The citizenships of three other passengers are unknown.

 

 

  

Russia mourns those lost in Egypt plane crash 01:47

Russian media reported that the disaster created a large number of orphans in Russia, as a lot of parents left their young children with relatives while they took vacations in Sharm el-Sheikh.

'Tragedy to lose so many children'

Most of the bodies retrieved at the crash site are intact, a medical source in Sinai told CNN on Monday, and showed no major burns.

 

 

The photo of 10-month-old Darina Gromova posted by the baby's mother before a family trip to Egypt.

 

The investigation

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has promised Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will allow "the broadest possible participation of Russian experts in the investigation," according to the Kremlin.

Russian officials have joined their Egyptian counterparts at the crash scene. Putin has also ordered a Russian investigation, the Kremlin said.

 

 

 

 Aviation official: Russian jet disintegrated in midair 03:16

Aviation investigators from France and Germany, the countries where the plane was manufactured, are also taking part.

The aircraft's engines were manufactured in the United States. If the plane's engines become a focus of the investigation, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will likely dispatch a team to Egypt as well, a U.S official with knowledge of the investigation said.

The plane's black boxes, which were recovered at the crash site Saturday, have not yet been read or decoded, Smirnov said.

 

Photo released by Egypt's Ministry of Civil Aviation.

 

The region

 Sharm el-Sheikh, where Flight 9268 began its journey, is a beach resort dotted with palm trees at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The plane crashed about 300 kilometers (185 miles) farther north, near a town called Housna, according to Egyptian authorities.

The Sinai Peninsula has been a battleground between ISIS-affiliated militants and Egyptian security forces. The conflict has killed hundreds of people.

Is it safe to fly over war zones? How low can planes go?

The militants appeared to claim responsibility for bringing down the Russian passenger jet in a statement posted online Saturday, but officials in Egypt and Russia disputed it.

 

Mahjoob, the airport official, said there was no evidence of a terrorist attack. And Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said the claim that terrorists brought down the plane with an anti-aircraft missile "cannot be considered reliable," according to RIA Novosti.

The Egyptian military said militants in Sinai have shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft weapons that shoot only as high as 14,000 feet, far short of the more than 30,000 feet at which Flight 9268 was flying when it dropped off radar.

Metrojet executives also said Monday that it was too early in the investigation to speculate or draw any conclusions. But Smirnov referred to purported footage of the crash posted by militants, saying: "Those images you have seen on the Internet; I think they are fake."

 U.S. intelligence and military officials are analyzing the data to determine whether the flash occurred in midair or on the ground and what that can tell them about what happened to the plane, the official said.

Analysts say heat flashes could be tied to a range of possibilities: a missile firing, a bomb blast, a malfunctioning engine exploding, a structural problem causing a fire on the plane or wreckage hitting the ground.

"The number of heat signatures is crucial," said CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien. "If, in fact, only one was detected, that in some respects might steer one away from a missile launch and onto some idea of an explosion onboard the aircraft."

A top Russian aviation official has said the plane broke apart in midair.

Metrojet official Alexander Smirnov said the airline had ruled out technical problems and human error. Protection systems on the plane would have prevented it from crashing, he said, even if there were major errors in the pilot's control equipment.

CNN aviation analyst Peter Goelz said the disaster could have resulted from "some sort of catastrophic failure, perhaps caused by an earlier maintenance problem. It could have been a center fuel tank that might have exploded."

 

Russian plane crash: Quest finds it mysterious

 

The region

 Sharm el-Sheikh, where Flight 9268 began its journey, is a beach resort dotted with palm trees at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The plane crashed about 300 kilometers (185 miles) farther north, near a town called Housna, according to Egyptian authorities.

The Sinai Peninsula has been a battleground between ISIS-affiliated militants and Egyptian security forces. The conflict has killed hundreds of people.

Is it safe to fly over war zones? How low can planes go?

The militants appeared to claim responsibility for bringing down the Russian passenger jet in a statement posted online Saturday, but officials in Egypt and Russia disputed it.

 

Russian jet crash investigation -- the key question

Mahjoob, the airport official, said there was no evidence of a terrorist attack. And Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said the claim that terrorists brought down the plane with an anti-aircraft missile "cannot be considered reliable," according to RIA Novosti.

The Egyptian military said militants in Sinai have shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft weapons that shoot only as high as 14,000 feet, far short of the more than 30,000 feet at which Flight 9268 was flying when it dropped off radar.

Metrojet executives also said Monday that it was too early in the investigation to speculate or draw any conclusions. But Smirnov referred to purported footage of the crash posted by militants, saying: "Those images you have seen on the Internet; I think they are fake."

-End of Major Media Report-

 To date, there has been no mention in the major media of the possibility of a drone involvement in the crash, nor from airline officials concerning the downing of flight 9268. However Russian officials have strongly eluded to an external impact, indicating that they are aware of the possibility of a Mid-Air Collision whether accidental or deliberate. Lets look into the possibility of a drone collision.

First Altitude: The aircraft was above 30,000 feet

Second Area of Operations: Were there drones operating in the area or historically in the area

Third Who: If there were drones in the AO, who would be operating them

Fourth Missile from drone: Is it possible that a drones missile hit the airliner

 About Drones

 The new breed of Military grade drones have an operating ceiling of 60,000 feet, however most of the existing drone fleet operate below 45,000 feet. Extended range vehicles can fly over 1200 miles and stay aloft up to 18 hours. Via DARPA contracts Drones are now gaining the Stealth Capability via electronics on board the vehicle, thus evading ground radar.

This capability currently only exist in Isareli and U.S. intelligence Agency Drones.

A 9th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot, left, and 49th Operations Group MQ-9 sensor operator fly an MQ-9 Reaper training mission from a ground control station on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Michael Shoemaker

Drone pilots escape the physical demands and dangers of a traditional cockpit. There's no g-force pinning them to their seats, no uncomfortable pressure suit to wear and no panic because the aircraft they are sitting in is spiraling out of control.

Instead of soaking in sensory information through their eyes and ears and fingers, drone pilots spend hours watching their crafts through their computer screens — their only physical link with the craft they fly.

Over the last few years, the military has been taking on drones faster than it can train pilots. The old guard, airmen and women who clocked flight hours in regular aircraft before taking control of a Predator, is being replaced by a generation of cadets with basic flight training and hours and hours of video game time. Drones themselves are evolving into complex automatons, making novel demands on their minders' brains and bodies. Scientists who study how machines and humans work together are only just filling in our understanding of what it really means to be a drone pilot.

A drone operator who has a flying history will tell you that switching gears to remote control takes some getting used to.

In a manned aircraft, "you can see outside, where you can hear the noise of the engine and hear the turbulence … You have all your five senses," Phil Hall, a pilot for NASA's Global Hawk research drone, told NBC News.

Lt. Zachary, a student with the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron, flies an MQ-1 Predator simulator mission. Lt. Logan Clark

But drone pilots today rely on a computer screen, system status updates and a map, sometimes continents away from the craft they are flying.

"In a manned aircraft if you have a problem you know right away," Hall said, but when there's a drone involved, there's a bit of translation, and there's only so much of the situation you can read.

Some of the hardest lessons to teach new drone pilots? Where to look for information that in a manned craft would be right at their fingertips, says Tom Miller, an ex-Air Force pilot who now flies NASA's Global Hawk drone. For example, in the case of a lost data link, a drone is programmed to return to either a pre-programmed location or its original launch point. When that happens, "A pilot needs to know what the programming is if they need to manage it," so the programming can be changed if needed, Miller said.

Boredom an issue
Drones like the Global Hawks are so sophisticated that they need more minding than flying. In other words, flying a drone doesn't suck up every drop of a pilot's focus every second they are at the controls. This makes boredom a unique but very real problem among pilots, and it cuts into their performance, a study published last year found.

Missy Cummings, an ex-Navy pilot and MIT professor who led the study,explained that "babysitting" a craft while waiting for a target makes it harder for pilots to spring back into action when they're needed. When she tested the subjects' attention through 4-hour simulations, she found that high scorers were distracted: They read a book, checked their phones or left the controls to get a snack.

 


Russian Fighter encounters U.S. Drone over Syria. 

 

Egyptian Drones

 

Following the sale of Rafale fighter jets, FREMM frigate and possibly, the Mistral helicopter carrier originally built for the Russian Navy, France is offering Egypt its latest UAV – the Patroller. The drone’s developer, French defense company Sagem (of the Safran group) has signed a partnership agreement with AOI-Aircraft Factory ofEgypt, as part of an exclusive commercial and industrial collaboration agreement concerning the Patroller surveillance drone system, to address the requirements of the Egyptian Ministry of Defense.

According to the terms of this agreement announced today, AOI-Aircraft Factory will handle final assembly of Patroller drones in its Egyptian plants. The agreement also covers system support and commissioning. AOI-Aircraft Factory will also develop and establish training center in Egypt, to train operations and maintenance teams assigned to units equipped with Sagem’s drone systems.

Sagem began the training phase in October 2015 form a secret Drone Base.

 

Israeli Drone Strike In Egypt's Sinai Kills 5  August 2013

EL-ARISH, Egypt — An Israeli drone strike killed five suspected Islamic militants and destroyed a rocket launcher in Egypt's largely lawless Sinai Peninsula on Friday, two senior Egyptian security officials said, describing a rare Israeli operation carried out in its Arab neighbor's territory.

The attack came a day after Israel briefly closed its airport in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, close to the Sinai, in response to unspecified security warnings. Eilat was previously targeted by rocket fire from the Sinai.

Israel maintained official silence about the strike, suggesting that if the Jewish state was involved, it might be trying to avoid embarrassing the Egyptian military. An Egyptian military spokesman later denied the report but did not provide another cause for the explosion.

 Hamas drones said to enter Egyptian airspace March 2015

Hamas drones reportedly flew out of the Gaza Strip and into Egyptian airspace above the Sinai Peninsula several times last week as the Egyptian army stood by helpless to prevent the incursions.

Egyptian radar picked up three drones flying out of the southern Gaza Strip on numerous occasions, the Egyptian Al Osboa newspaper reported. The unmanned aerial vehicles penetrated as far as El Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, some 50 kilometers from the Egypt-Gaza border.

Border forces opened fire on the drones but couldn’t hit them because they were flying at an altitude of 750 meters (22,250 feet)

 

US supplies Egypt with warships, in talks to establish drone base

The US Navy has supplied Egypt with high-tech warships worth US$1.1 billion, as the military institution continues to arm its allies in the region. The delivery comes as American military officials are reportedly considering establishing an airbase for aerial drones in North Africa, either in Tunisia or Egypt, to help fight Islamic State militants in Libya.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the US chief of naval operations, visited Alexandria’s Abu Qir naval base on July 11-13 to reaffirm “commitment to partnering with Egypt and to enhance regional security,” according to a statement issued by the American Embassy in Cairo on Monday.

Greenert is reported to have toured the naval port and inspected the four Fast Missile Craft warships that the US sent over last month. According to the embassy’s statement, this “investment by the United States in the bilateral strategic partnership will provide an enhanced capability to patrol and protect Egyptian and international maritime interests.”

The admiral’s visit coincides with talks between US military officials and North African statements regarding the deployment of American aerial drones on either Tunisian or Egyptian territory in order to confront the Islamic State forces in Libya, according to the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. drones are also being launched from ships operating in the Red Sea.

So the possibility of Military Drones operating in the AO were great. Not only one country but it seems that various countries are operating in Egyptian Airspace, outside of Egyptian ATC control causing a major danger for civilian aircraft. 

During the course of the investigation a determination of whether an explosion suggesting a missile or bomb is to blame, or another source.

The flight voice recorder should give immediate indications as to whether it was an explosion or not. if not, an external impact is the most reasonable explanation.

There are alot of "Ifs" involved in the tragedy. Time will sort out the truth.

ARGUS 2013 - Imagine how it has advanced with today's technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

User Rating: 0 / 5

I am often asked about my take on aircraft incidents. As a military pilot with over 33000 hours of flight time I have seen many crash sites and have been involved in several military investigations as to the cause of the crash.

The theories from major media sources on what may have brought down Metrojet Flight 9268 run the gamut, from a fuel tank explosion to a missile from the ground. But they fall short of what may be and explosive theory. A mid-air Drone Strike may have been the cause of the crash.

Now I am not talking about a missile from a drone, however i will not rule that out, but rather a mid air collision with a drone operating in the area. 

First lets look at some facts as reported by CNN,

By Jethro Mullen, Catherine E. Shoichet and Holly Yan, CNN 

 

 

 

21 photos: Russian plane crashes in Egypt

 

 

 

 Russian officials say it's too soon to tell what made the passenger jet plunge to the ground Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.

Aviation experts agree, and officials have downplayed an apparent claim by Islamic militants that they brought down the Airbus A321-200, saying technical failure is the most likely reason for the crash.

Here's the latest on what we know:

 The flight

 Flight 9268 was on its way from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg early Saturday when it dropped off radar about 23 minutes into the flight, Egyptian officials say.

 

Air traffic controllers apparently didn't receive any distress calls.

"There was nothing abnormal before the plane crash," Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamel said Saturday. "It suddenly disappeared from the radar."

The website Flightradar24, which tracks aircraft around the world, said it had received data from the Russian plane suggesting sharp changes in altitude and a dramatic decrease in ground speed before the signal was lost.

 

The crash

 A U.S. satellite that was over Sinai at the time of the crash detected a heat flash, according to a U.S. official directly familiar with the latest information in the investigation.

The theories on what may have brought down Metrojet Flight 9268 run the gamut, from a fuel tank explosion to a missile from the ground.

  

Russian officials say it's too soon to tell what made the passenger jet plunge to the ground Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.

Aviation experts agree, and officials have downplayed an apparent claim by Islamic militants that they brought down the Airbus A321-200, saying technical failure is the most likely reason for the crash.

Here's the latest on what we know:

U.S. intelligence and military officials are analyzing the data to determine whether the flash occurred in midair or on the ground and what that can tell them about what happened to the plane, the official said.

Analysts say heat flashes could be tied to a range of possibilities: a missile firing, a bomb blast, a malfunctioning engine exploding, a structural problem causing a fire on the plane or wreckage hitting the ground.

"The number of heat signatures is crucial," said CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien. "If, in fact, only one was detected, that in some respects might steer one away from a missile launch and onto some idea of an explosion onboard the aircraft."

 

Russian jet crash investigation -- the key question

A top Russian aviation official has said the plane broke apart in midair.

Metrojet official Alexander Smirnov said the airline had ruled out technical problems and human error. Protection systems on the plane would have prevented it from crashing, he said, even if there were major errors in the pilot's control equipment.

CNN aviation analyst Peter Goelz said the disaster could have resulted from "some sort of catastrophic failure, perhaps caused by an earlier maintenance problem. It could have been a center fuel tank that might have exploded."

 

Russian plane crash: Quest finds it mysterious

 

The plane

 The A321-200 was built in 1997, and the airline company Kogalymavia, which flies under the name Metrojet, had been operating it since 2012, Airbus said. The aircraft had clocked around 56,000 flight hours over the course of nearly 21,000 flights, the plane maker said.

And so far, officials have said all its inspections were in order.

The aircraft passed a routine inspection before takeoff, Egyptian Airports Co. chief Adel Al-Mahjoob said Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

Report: Russian plane's condition concerned co-pilot 03:29

According to the Aviation Safety Network, which tracks aircraft incidents, the same plane's tail struck a runway while landing in Cairo in 2001 and required repair. At the time, the aircraft was registered to the Lebanese carrier Middle East Airlines, registration records show.

Kogalymavia's Andrei Averyanov said the plane had been damaged in 2001, but had most recently been thoroughly checked for cracks in 2013. Not enough time had passed for major cracks to develop to a critical size since then, he said.

Smirnov said that he had personally flown the plane in recent months and that it was "pristine."

 

The victims

 There were 217 passengers and seven crew members on board Flight 9268. Of the passengers, 209 were Russian, four were Ukrainian and one was Belarusian. The citizenships of three other passengers are unknown.

 

 

  

Russia mourns those lost in Egypt plane crash 01:47

Russian media reported that the disaster created a large number of orphans in Russia, as a lot of parents left their young children with relatives while they took vacations in Sharm el-Sheikh.

'Tragedy to lose so many children'

Most of the bodies retrieved at the crash site are intact, a medical source in Sinai told CNN on Monday, and showed no major burns.

 

 

The photo of 10-month-old Darina Gromova posted by the baby's mother before a family trip to Egypt.

 

The investigation

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has promised Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will allow "the broadest possible participation of Russian experts in the investigation," according to the Kremlin.

Russian officials have joined their Egyptian counterparts at the crash scene. Putin has also ordered a Russian investigation, the Kremlin said.

 

 

 

 Aviation official: Russian jet disintegrated in midair 03:16

Aviation investigators from France and Germany, the countries where the plane was manufactured, are also taking part.

The aircraft's engines were manufactured in the United States. If the plane's engines become a focus of the investigation, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will likely dispatch a team to Egypt as well, a U.S official with knowledge of the investigation said.

The plane's black boxes, which were recovered at the crash site Saturday, have not yet been read or decoded, Smirnov said.

 

Photo released by Egypt's Ministry of Civil Aviation.

 

The region

 Sharm el-Sheikh, where Flight 9268 began its journey, is a beach resort dotted with palm trees at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The plane crashed about 300 kilometers (185 miles) farther north, near a town called Housna, according to Egyptian authorities.

The Sinai Peninsula has been a battleground between ISIS-affiliated militants and Egyptian security forces. The conflict has killed hundreds of people.

Is it safe to fly over war zones? How low can planes go?

The militants appeared to claim responsibility for bringing down the Russian passenger jet in a statement posted online Saturday, but officials in Egypt and Russia disputed it.

 

Mahjoob, the airport official, said there was no evidence of a terrorist attack. And Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said the claim that terrorists brought down the plane with an anti-aircraft missile "cannot be considered reliable," according to RIA Novosti.

The Egyptian military said militants in Sinai have shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft weapons that shoot only as high as 14,000 feet, far short of the more than 30,000 feet at which Flight 9268 was flying when it dropped off radar.

Metrojet executives also said Monday that it was too early in the investigation to speculate or draw any conclusions. But Smirnov referred to purported footage of the crash posted by militants, saying: "Those images you have seen on the Internet; I think they are fake."

 U.S. intelligence and military officials are analyzing the data to determine whether the flash occurred in midair or on the ground and what that can tell them about what happened to the plane, the official said.

Analysts say heat flashes could be tied to a range of possibilities: a missile firing, a bomb blast, a malfunctioning engine exploding, a structural problem causing a fire on the plane or wreckage hitting the ground.

"The number of heat signatures is crucial," said CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien. "If, in fact, only one was detected, that in some respects might steer one away from a missile launch and onto some idea of an explosion onboard the aircraft."

A top Russian aviation official has said the plane broke apart in midair.

Metrojet official Alexander Smirnov said the airline had ruled out technical problems and human error. Protection systems on the plane would have prevented it from crashing, he said, even if there were major errors in the pilot's control equipment.

CNN aviation analyst Peter Goelz said the disaster could have resulted from "some sort of catastrophic failure, perhaps caused by an earlier maintenance problem. It could have been a center fuel tank that might have exploded."

 

Russian plane crash: Quest finds it mysterious

 

The region

 Sharm el-Sheikh, where Flight 9268 began its journey, is a beach resort dotted with palm trees at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The plane crashed about 300 kilometers (185 miles) farther north, near a town called Housna, according to Egyptian authorities.

The Sinai Peninsula has been a battleground between ISIS-affiliated militants and Egyptian security forces. The conflict has killed hundreds of people.

Is it safe to fly over war zones? How low can planes go?

The militants appeared to claim responsibility for bringing down the Russian passenger jet in a statement posted online Saturday, but officials in Egypt and Russia disputed it.

 

Russian jet crash investigation -- the key question

Mahjoob, the airport official, said there was no evidence of a terrorist attack. And Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said the claim that terrorists brought down the plane with an anti-aircraft missile "cannot be considered reliable," according to RIA Novosti.

The Egyptian military said militants in Sinai have shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft weapons that shoot only as high as 14,000 feet, far short of the more than 30,000 feet at which Flight 9268 was flying when it dropped off radar.

Metrojet executives also said Monday that it was too early in the investigation to speculate or draw any conclusions. But Smirnov referred to purported footage of the crash posted by militants, saying: "Those images you have seen on the Internet; I think they are fake."

-End of Major Media Report-

 To date, there has been no mention in the major media of the possibility of a drone involvement in the crash, nor from airline officials concerning the downing of flight 9268. However Russian officials have strongly eluded to an external impact, indicating that they are aware of the possibility of a Mid-Air Collision whether accidental or deliberate. Lets look into the possibility of a drone collision.

First Altitude: The aircraft was above 30,000 feet

Second Area of Operations: Were there drones operating in the area or historically in the area

Third Who: If there were drones in the AO, who would be operating them

Fourth Missile from drone: Is it possible that a drones missile hit the airliner

 About Drones

 The new breed of Military grade drones have an operating ceiling of 60,000 feet, however most of the existing drone fleet operate below 45,000 feet. Extended range vehicles can fly over 1200 miles and stay aloft up to 18 hours. Via DARPA contracts Drones are now gaining the Stealth Capability via electronics on board the vehicle, thus evading ground radar.

This capability currently only exist in Isareli and U.S. intelligence Agency Drones.

A 9th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot, left, and 49th Operations Group MQ-9 sensor operator fly an MQ-9 Reaper training mission from a ground control station on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Michael Shoemaker

Drone pilots escape the physical demands and dangers of a traditional cockpit. There's no g-force pinning them to their seats, no uncomfortable pressure suit to wear and no panic because the aircraft they are sitting in is spiraling out of control.

Instead of soaking in sensory information through their eyes and ears and fingers, drone pilots spend hours watching their crafts through their computer screens — their only physical link with the craft they fly.

Over the last few years, the military has been taking on drones faster than it can train pilots. The old guard, airmen and women who clocked flight hours in regular aircraft before taking control of a Predator, is being replaced by a generation of cadets with basic flight training and hours and hours of video game time. Drones themselves are evolving into complex automatons, making novel demands on their minders' brains and bodies. Scientists who study how machines and humans work together are only just filling in our understanding of what it really means to be a drone pilot.

A drone operator who has a flying history will tell you that switching gears to remote control takes some getting used to.

In a manned aircraft, "you can see outside, where you can hear the noise of the engine and hear the turbulence … You have all your five senses," Phil Hall, a pilot for NASA's Global Hawk research drone, told NBC News.

Lt. Zachary, a student with the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron, flies an MQ-1 Predator simulator mission. Lt. Logan Clark

But drone pilots today rely on a computer screen, system status updates and a map, sometimes continents away from the craft they are flying.

"In a manned aircraft if you have a problem you know right away," Hall said, but when there's a drone involved, there's a bit of translation, and there's only so much of the situation you can read.

Some of the hardest lessons to teach new drone pilots? Where to look for information that in a manned craft would be right at their fingertips, says Tom Miller, an ex-Air Force pilot who now flies NASA's Global Hawk drone. For example, in the case of a lost data link, a drone is programmed to return to either a pre-programmed location or its original launch point. When that happens, "A pilot needs to know what the programming is if they need to manage it," so the programming can be changed if needed, Miller said.

Boredom an issue
Drones like the Global Hawks are so sophisticated that they need more minding than flying. In other words, flying a drone doesn't suck up every drop of a pilot's focus every second they are at the controls. This makes boredom a unique but very real problem among pilots, and it cuts into their performance, a study published last year found.

Missy Cummings, an ex-Navy pilot and MIT professor who led the study,explained that "babysitting" a craft while waiting for a target makes it harder for pilots to spring back into action when they're needed. When she tested the subjects' attention through 4-hour simulations, she found that high scorers were distracted: They read a book, checked their phones or left the controls to get a snack.

 


Russian Fighter encounters U.S. Drone over Syria. 

 

Egyptian Drones

 

Following the sale of Rafale fighter jets, FREMM frigate and possibly, the Mistral helicopter carrier originally built for the Russian Navy, France is offering Egypt its latest UAV – the Patroller. The drone’s developer, French defense company Sagem (of the Safran group) has signed a partnership agreement with AOI-Aircraft Factory ofEgypt, as part of an exclusive commercial and industrial collaboration agreement concerning the Patroller surveillance drone system, to address the requirements of the Egyptian Ministry of Defense.

According to the terms of this agreement announced today, AOI-Aircraft Factory will handle final assembly of Patroller drones in its Egyptian plants. The agreement also covers system support and commissioning. AOI-Aircraft Factory will also develop and establish training center in Egypt, to train operations and maintenance teams assigned to units equipped with Sagem’s drone systems.

Sagem began the training phase in October 2015 form a secret Drone Base.

 

Israeli Drone Strike In Egypt's Sinai Kills 5  August 2013

EL-ARISH, Egypt — An Israeli drone strike killed five suspected Islamic militants and destroyed a rocket launcher in Egypt's largely lawless Sinai Peninsula on Friday, two senior Egyptian security officials said, describing a rare Israeli operation carried out in its Arab neighbor's territory.

The attack came a day after Israel briefly closed its airport in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, close to the Sinai, in response to unspecified security warnings. Eilat was previously targeted by rocket fire from the Sinai.

Israel maintained official silence about the strike, suggesting that if the Jewish state was involved, it might be trying to avoid embarrassing the Egyptian military. An Egyptian military spokesman later denied the report but did not provide another cause for the explosion.

 Hamas drones said to enter Egyptian airspace March 2015

Hamas drones reportedly flew out of the Gaza Strip and into Egyptian airspace above the Sinai Peninsula several times last week as the Egyptian army stood by helpless to prevent the incursions.

Egyptian radar picked up three drones flying out of the southern Gaza Strip on numerous occasions, the Egyptian Al Osboa newspaper reported. The unmanned aerial vehicles penetrated as far as El Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, some 50 kilometers from the Egypt-Gaza border.

Border forces opened fire on the drones but couldn’t hit them because they were flying at an altitude of 750 meters (22,250 feet)

 

US supplies Egypt with warships, in talks to establish drone base

The US Navy has supplied Egypt with high-tech warships worth US$1.1 billion, as the military institution continues to arm its allies in the region. The delivery comes as American military officials are reportedly considering establishing an airbase for aerial drones in North Africa, either in Tunisia or Egypt, to help fight Islamic State militants in Libya.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the US chief of naval operations, visited Alexandria’s Abu Qir naval base on July 11-13 to reaffirm “commitment to partnering with Egypt and to enhance regional security,” according to a statement issued by the American Embassy in Cairo on Monday.

Greenert is reported to have toured the naval port and inspected the four Fast Missile Craft warships that the US sent over last month. According to the embassy’s statement, this “investment by the United States in the bilateral strategic partnership will provide an enhanced capability to patrol and protect Egyptian and international maritime interests.”

The admiral’s visit coincides with talks between US military officials and North African statements regarding the deployment of American aerial drones on either Tunisian or Egyptian territory in order to confront the Islamic State forces in Libya, according to the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. drones are also being launched from ships operating in the Red Sea.

So the possibility of Military Drones operating in the AO were great. Not only one country but it seems that various countries are operating in Egyptian Airspace, outside of Egyptian ATC control causing a major danger for civilian aircraft. 

During the course of the investigation a determination of whether an explosion suggesting a missile or bomb is to blame, or another source.

The flight voice recorder should give immediate indications as to whether it was an explosion or not. if not, an external impact is the most reasonable explanation.

There are alot of "Ifs" involved in the tragedy. Time will sort out the truth.

ARGUS 2013 - Imagine how it has advanced with today's technology

 

 


 



 

 
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