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Thu, Sep 01, 2005

Greek Freak When Another NORDO Bird Flies Into Airspace Near Crete

But Czech Pilot Eventually Checks In

A little more than two weeks after a Helios Airways 737-200 blasted through Greek airspace without any communication, crashing near Athens, air traffic controllers again scrambled fighters to intercept a NORDO aircraft Tuesday. This time, however, the intercept had a much happier ending.

Greek media report a Czech charter flight (aircraft type unknown) penetrated its airspace south of Crete without checking in. The aircraft was on a flight from Cairo, Egypt, to Bratislava, Slovakia.

After trying unsuccessfully to contact the pilot for more than 12-minutes, the Greek Civil Aviation Authrority called the military for help.

Two Greek F-16s scrambled to intercept the aircraft. But before they could get in the air, the pilot of the Czech charter radioed controllers. Seems his headset had malfunctioned.

The doomed Helios Airways flight that crashed August 14th near Athens had also been branded a "renegade" by controllers. When fighters arrived to check it out, they found the pilot missing from the cockpit and the co-pilot slumped over the controls. The aircraft, apparently out of fuel after a three-hour flight from Cyprus, crashed a short time later near Athens, killing all 121 people on board.

FMI: www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/gr.html

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