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Keen-eyed users of online flight tracking apps may have noticed a small aircraft circling the Welsh valleys this afternoon, it certainly got one local news outlet rather excited!
The plane in question, a Cessna 404 Titan (G-MIND), was carrying out chemical spill response or pollutant response tests using fresh water on behalf of Natural Resources Wales.
A chemical spill response involves aircraft spraying chemicals across a pollutant such as oil in order to break it up and disperse it. One UK company doing this on a bigger scale is T2 Aviation using a Boeing 727 on behalf of Oil Spill Response.
The aircraft in question today is operated by Reconnaissance Ventures who carry out specialist flight missions for private and public contracts. In fact, their aircraft are often seen in the skies of south wales providing radio relay for events as well as (as their name suggests) intelligence and reconnaissance gathering in support of multiple agencies.
The Cessna 404 Titan pottered around the Valleys for around 2 hours today flying at around 250mph and at 4000ft before flying back to East Midlands Airport, its home base. People below oblivious to its activities.
One explanation is that Natural Resources Wales are testing a scaled-down system of the system used by T2 Aviation’s oil beating 727 to combat pollutants on inland waterways and reservoirs. But of course, that will be something Natural Resources Wales reveal if it is even achievable. That’s why freshwater tests like these are carried out.
Either way, whilst it isn’t your average flight, it certainly isn’t the strangest one you will see in the skies over Wales!