I just happened to be checking Flightradar24 to identify an aircraft flying over my house this morning, just before mid-day I think it was (Transavia, destination Eindhoven), when I came across this weird flight that was going on near Périgueux.
There were no aircraft details available but clearly something very strange was going on and had been for something like half an hour, or maybe a bit longer. The aircraft was most probably a small single-engine type because it was showing a ground speed of around 100 kts and was indicating a calibrated altitude ranging from just under 1000ft to a maximum of just over 1300ft during the period that I was tracking it.
Flightradar24 indicated that the flight had originated in Chambery near the Swiss border something like 2 hrs 45 mins previously and sure enough this was proven to be correct by zooming the map out.
Closer scrutiny indicated that the flight had apparently been going smoothly up until the time the aircraft reached Objat to the north of Brive, after which it became incredibly erratic, twisting and turning randomly as it slowly transitioned westwards and climbing and descending as it did so, almost as though there was no qualified pilot in control.
As I watched it, after it had passed Périgueux it turned back towards the east until just after it had passed Bassillac aerodrome, the trace suddenly ended. It could be that this occurred because the pilot decided to execute a hasty landing at Bassillac and descended to an altitude at which radar contact was lost. It might also have meant that whoever was in control switched off the aircraft’s transponder – which, incidentally, was not properly installed and set up as it was not transmitting any data about the aircraft itself.
Or finally, it could have indicated something much more ominous and I’ll keep an ear to the ground in case I hear of anything untoward having happened. The Flightradar24 trace would certainly seem to indicate that something out of the ordinary was going on – pilot incapacity for example – but whatever it was, one hopes that anyone involved came out of it OK.
Actually, I’ve just found the same flight on Airnav.Radarbox. It appears that the aircraft in question might be Cessna 182 registration F-HBRH and that it might have landed at Bassillac. I do hope that that’s the case.