A plane inadvertently broadcast a “hijacked aircraft” radio signal within Kingston airspace at around 10:15a.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, prompting a heavy police response to Kingston’s Norman Rogers Airport on Len Birchall Way.
“A plane flying from the Toronto area developed radio communications issues and sent out a hijacking signal associated to a technical difficulty with the plane’s radio system,” confirmed Ash Gutheinz, Kingston Police Media Relations Officer.
According to FlightAware data, the small airplane, a PA28-151 with tail markings C-GOCH, had taken off from Brampton Airport shortly after 8:15 a.m.
It was heading northeast when it redirected south towards Kingston following the incident about two hours into its flight.
Airplanes can declare a hijacking emergency by “squawking”, or broadcasting, the code 7500 via their onboard transponder. The “hijack” transponder code is similar to the code for “radio malfunction”, which is 7600. The hijack signal prompts an emergency response even if a pilot subsequently declares that the signal was sent in error.
According to Gutheinz, the plane landed safely at Norman Rogers Airport to have the radio issue addressed.
“Police were dispatched out of an abundance of caution and found everything to be in order and the incident was determined to have no criminal implications,” said Gutheinz.