Unusual aircraft formation spotted over Yeovil prompts Air Force One speculation
An unusual formation of aircraft spotted over Yeovil prompted speculation that US Presidential jet Air Force One was flying over Somerset.
Onlookers saw one large and three smaller aircraft in close formation in clear blue skies above the town at around 12.50pm today.
From a distance the formation appeared to be a single commercial airliner approaching from the north.
As it got closer an unusual series of parallel trails behind the aircraft became clear.
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Onlookers could make out one larger light coloured aeroplane flanked by what appeared to be three smaller silver or grey coloured aeroplanes.
Sources at nearby RNAS Yeovilton said the aircraft were not from the base.
Its air traffic control said aircraft flying at that height were unlikely to be in contact with the station.
A spokesman for NATS, which is responsible for controlling aircraft in civilian air space above the UK said its operation room was unaware of the formation and it was likely to be military aircraft.
An MOD spokesman he could not identify what the aircraft were from the description given but suggested they could be part of a routine RAF operation or US military aircraft.
One onlooker suggested the formation might be presidential jet Air Force One accompanied by fighter jets.
This is unlikely, however. US President Barack Obama did not have any public engagements today, according to the official White House website.
According to the website, Air Force One is capable of refueling mid-air, giving it unlimited range.
Its onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States.
Inside, the President and his travel companions enjoy 4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels, including an extensive suite for the President that features a large office, lavatory, and conference room.
Air Force One includes a medical suite that can function as an operating room, and a doctor is permanently on board. The plane’s two food preparation galleys can feed 100 people at a time.
Did you see the aircraft fly over Yeovil? Did you take any pictures? Email the Western Gazette at email@example.com.