N196D at Basecamp
N196D is a CN-235 registered to
DEVON HOLDING & LEASING INC
129 W CENTER ST
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA 27292-3009
Devon Holdings and Leasing is a shell company of Aero Contractors. The European Parliament issued the following on Aero Contractors:
On 6/10/2007, N196D filed to fly from PWA (WILEY POST, OKLAHOMA CITY,
OK) to TPH, the civilian airport in Tonopah. The flight plan was
canceled. This does not mean the flight never took place, but rather
the plane canceled its Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) route and switched
to Visual Flight Rules (VFR). It is possible the plane landed at
Tonopah (TPH), or flew to Basecamp.
The base parked N196D well away from public roads, perhaps to keep
prying eyes and telephoto lens from taking a peek at it. Compare this
photograph to one taken under less demanding circumstances. The
basecamp photographs were taken on 6/14 and 6/15/2007.
N196D on jetphotos.net
Since the plane was parked far away from the base, this photo puts it
in the same frame with the Bascamp VOR. Those familiar with the area
will agree the plane was at Basecamp.
Eventually it took off and flew by at 16000 MSL, about 10000 AGL. It appears the plane was ready to deposit jumpers.
Scanner audio from the event can be heard here. [OGG format requires winamp or videolan.]
The callsign SKYBOX was used. From the scanner audio, it appears
that the plane landed at Desert Rock Airstrip (DRA) on the Nevada Test
On 6/22/2007, N196D filed to leave TPH, with destination GCK [GARDEN
CITY REGIONAL, GARDEN CITY KS] Again, the flight plan was canceled, to
avoid internet tracking.
A chopper (HH60) was also on the base. Shadows prevented me from
getting a tail number, or maybe it didn't have one. This image is
tweaked a bit to bring out detail in the shadows, which makes the
background look overexposed. A transit case can be seen in the cargo
This is the same photograph with the normal exposure, showing the mountains in the background to verify it was at Basecamp.
This is a shot from the other direction. Perhaps those are pallets in the cargo hold.
Once the plane took off, there was some "drive it like you stole it" activity on the ground.
Blow ups of the equipment on the ground: