Well Thompson has earned my appreciation...... not really but I thought about his mental breakdown and how some of you would comment about an aircraft buzzing my house at midnight.
I noticed the first pass over my South Charlotte home around midnight. Single engine low, slow and westbound. Loud enough to overcome the din of late night television.
On the second pass, in the opposite direction, again a single engine airplane. I hit the mute button. The distinctive sound of a six cylinder Continental engine humming away though the damp night air, an aircraft flying less than 3000 feet off the ground at midnight is hard to miss.
A quick check of FlightAware, and sure enough there is one lone aircraft over Charlotte heading East at 3400 feet.
|Amateur Photo of Cessna N994RA|
My first thought is an aircraft emergency, maybe someone out of Monroe (KEQY) in some sort of trouble. But a click on the flight log shows this disconcerting track.
|Cessna N994RA Flight Track Over Charlotte on 2/11/2015|
It doesn't take long for my spy novel government conspiracy overloaded mind to start digging.
Turns out the N994RA is jammed full of equipment, sensors and listening devices. Packed with computer equipment and data collection devices that are a little known dirty secret of the FCC and federal government agencies.
The single engine aircraft is owned by Mar-Tech Engineering, LLC. Sadly it is not linked to any "black ops" shell company across the Potomac from CIA headquarters. But a cable industry support business head quartered in Jacksonville Florida.
Seems that major cable providers have a little know problem called "leakage". With millions of miles of cable, some of it pretty old, there is considerable RF signal leakage and it just happens to be in the same radio spectrum as cellphone LTE signals.
And then there is this, the leakage can in some cases over power emergency services hand held units. Nothing more distressing than to be a cop on a foot chase in the dark, and when you key your radio and no one can hear you.
So Mar-Tech has a fleet of 10 aircraft that patrol the skies looking for "hot spots" that on the ground are hard to locate.
The cable industry is subject to huge fines for this leakage and so Mar-Tech takes to the skies at night to track down these rouge signals, collecting data and helping sort out the mess of old leaky TWC equipment and cables.
For techo geeks there is this document which details the Mar-Tech operation.