What is this flight doing?



I’m hoping someone may be able to decipher what this flight is doing.


From what I can tell, it goes a few miles out from the airport and does circles for 4 hours. What might the purpose behind this be? Also notice that this seems to be what it does each day? I’m going to drive over the the airport and see if I can get a look at the paint scheme for some extra info.


If it were a P-61 I’d think it might be spinning a web…

That’s a good catch,
it looks like hes flying some kinda arc over the same navaid or circling over the same area day after day…is it some kind of surveying flight? That many revolutions in that many days, they must have some extensive photos if that’s what they’re doing!


Here’s the permanent link to the flight:
flightaware.com/live/flight/N500 … /KIDA/KIDA

How many turns around a point can you do before you have to RTB?


I think Sierra Nevada Corp has been discussed in the forums before, but I can’t find the thread.

Testing some sort of sensor or system is my guess.


Also I noticed it is slowing to what I would think would be stall speeds in that aircraft (speeds in the 60’s).

And who knows if this adds any help at all (I’m no expert)… but when I drove out to see if I could get a look, it was taking off again (after a short re-fuel I guess). I’m guessing it was VFR since I don’t see that flight on FlightAware.

EDIT I don’t see the flight listed on the N500MS page but the plane icon showing up on the KIDA “radar” page. I just don’t see any text on it anywhere (if that makes sense).

Anyway, thanks for all the info so far. I just found it curious :smiley:


I’m dizzy


I would think it is some kind of surveillance mission. Would not want to be doing illegal in that area, they have your number.


I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Oh, all right then:

Though the company still bills itself as a small business anchored in Sparks, it now has offices or subsidiaries in 13 states from coast to coast, and has been steadily pouring money into a lobbying effort in Washington to ensure it keeps growing.

Sierra Nevada has designed and manufactured landing gear for the Air Force’s Predator drones stationed in Southern Nevada, and received federal tax dollars to develop an autonomous landing system for helicopters to land safely during sandstorms in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The company also has worked to develop for the military a high-tech surveillance airship, a mobile air traffic control tower, an unmanned airborne refueling system and a global positioning system that can help aircraft land more safely on aircraft carriers.


These guys do anything you can think of in terms of aircraft electronics, and then some. Have a look:



Those speeds you are seeing are ground speed. An aircraft can have Zero ground speed and not be any where near a stall


Those speeds you are seeing are ground speed. An aircraft can have Zero ground speed and not be any where near a stall


Ah, I suppose that’s true. Didn’t really cross my mind. And I think that plane is circling over the idaho national engineering lab land.

And possible fun fact: Wasn’t N500MS the default registration on a flight sim plane? Maybe 2002 or maybe 04? Possibly a learjet? I could be out of my mind :smiley:


Interesting. I could have sworn King Air 500MS used to belong to Mississippi State Univ.