The concept of airplanes “drawing” something in the sky with their flight paths is nothing new — we saw EL AL draw a 747 in the sky for its last 747 flight, Qantas draw a kangaroo in the sky for its last 747 flight, Virgin Atlantic draw a heart in the sky for Valentine’s Day, and more.
However, the story behind this is in a league of its own.
A Pobeda 737’s suspicious maneuvers
This incident happened on November 11, 2020, and involves low cost carrier Pobeda, which is Aeroflot’s wholly owned subsidiary. A Boeing 737-800 was operating flight DP407 from Moscow to Yekaterinburg, which ordinarily has a flight time of just over two hours.
However, this flight was different. About three quarters of the way into the flight, the pilots requested permission to perform some air maneuvers because they claimed they needed to check their radio navigation equipment.
At that point the six year old Boeing 737 started making some turns, which lasted for about 20 minutes. Notice anything unusual about the path that the plane used to check radio navigation equipment?
Let’s zoom in a bit.
Wait a minute, that kind of looks like a…
But why would pilots do this?
One might assume that the above is just a funny, phallic coincidence. But there appears to be motive here — these turns may have been an act of solidarity with the captain of Russia’s national football team.
Artem Dzyuba was recently temporarily suspended from the team after footage emerged that allegedly showed him masturbating in bed. He was being taunted by fans during matches, so the team felt like they had no choice given all the negativity surrounding him. The theory is that the pilots chose to show their solidarity with the captain by doing this.
Now this incident is being investigated by the Federal Air Transport Agency, which is determining whether the crew broke any rules.
Russian pilots are being investigated after performing phallic-like maneuvers during a domestic flight, perhaps as a sign of solidarity with a Russian footballer.
No matter what, I don’t think the pilots were putting anyone in danger, since presumably the plane was under control. Was this ridiculously immature, a waste of everyone’s time, and a waste of fuel? Yes.
At the same time, I can’t help but laugh at the actual logistics of this. How exactly did this come about. When the pilots got onboard the plane did one say to the other “hey, in the middle of the flight, how about we just draw a massive penis in the sky?” And if so, was the other one like “yeah, I was thinking that too, let’s do it!”
Also, was this just supposed to be a little exercise in solidarity between the two pilots, or were the pilots the ones to later expose to others what they did? And if so, did they not think this would get them in trouble?