Federal Councilor Alain Burset (50) began a deployment by the French Air Force on 5 July as he was traveling in France in a hired private aircraft. “NZZ” reported that she took off in a restricted military area and did not respond to instructions, forcing a French fighter jet to land her. After explaining who he was, he was able to continue flying. Since then, Bursett has remained silent on the incident, and her department has made only a short statement.
The reactions in Switzerland were disastrous: they shouted about preferential treatment and demanded his resignation. Now it turns out that the French authorities made serious mistakes in the incident involving the Swiss interior minister. This is reported by the “Sontagszeitung”, which claims to have heard recordings of radio messages in an online archive.
«Hotel-Bravo-Tango-Oscar-Romeo, Do You Receive Me?»
According to it, officials wanted to contact the 50-year-old man at 5:25 pm – an hour after he illegally flew into the restricted area.
To do so, he radioed her and spelled out the identity of her plane with the following words: “Attention, Hotel-Bravo-Tango-Oscar-Romeo, do you get me?” Bursett was asked. The Hotel-Bravo-Tango-Oscar-Romeo flight corresponds to the aircraft registration number «HB-TOR» in radio language.
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«D» and «O» mixed
But Burset did not respond. Because his plane had a different name! Not “HB-TOR”, but “HB-TDR”. Apparently, the radio operator confused the “D” on the Cessna with the “O”, “Sontagszeitung” suspects.
So the radio message was repeated after about 20 seconds – with the same error. Bursett did not respond again.
More than a minute later, a now irritated radio operator can be heard on the tape recording, who tries a third time: “Hotel-Bravo-Tango-Oscar-Romeo, do you get me?”
Then no answer.
Because no radio contact could be made, an aerial police operation was launched. France had confirmed this a few days ago.
«HB-TOR» does not exist at all
The newspaper asked four pilots and aviation experts. Three of them said they probably didn’t feel addressed because of the wrong name. In one cockpit, it would receive continuous radio messages with similar-sounding designations from other aircraft.
According to the article, however, it has been proven that flight safety actually meant Bursett’s aircraft with a sequence of letters. The aircraft with the designation “HB-TOR” does not exist.
The authors conclude that it is possible that Bursett simply ignored the officers’ instructions because he believed they were not meant to be. And write that the tape recording relieves the Federal Council.
Neither Bursett nor the department comment on new developments in the article. (of)