Air Force insists penis-shaped flight path aimed at Russian base in Syria was not intentional
The U.S. Air Force is denying that pilots of a KC-135 Stratotanker intentionally flew a flight path that observers online noticed resembled the shape of a penis that was pointed at a Russian naval base in Syria.
"We're aware of the incident and are talking with the KC-135 crew to determine the details," and Air Force spokesperson told Military.com last week. "At this time, we do not believe the crew acted inappropriately, flying a refueling orbit consistent with requirements that met the needs of receiver aircraft."
The statement comes after social media users who follow flight paths on Flightradar24, a website dedicated to tracking planes around the world, noticed the flight path of the Air Force plane last week drew a long oval and two circles that resembled a penis pointed directly at Russian forces in Syria.
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However, the Air Force says that the pilots, who were flying a refueling flight between Cyprus and the Syrian city of Tartus, acted appropriately during their flight, arguing the path was consistent with a path the giant tanker would take during refueling operations.
The apparently coincidentally patterned flight path comes at a time of increased tensions between the U.S. and Russia, who has been largely cut off from much of the international community amid their ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
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The incident is not the first time Air Force pilots have been accused of intentionally drawing a penis in the sky, coming three years after F-35 Joint Strike Fighters engaged in dog fight training accidentally created a similar shaped image in the skies above Arizona.
The F-35 Lightning II team performs during the International Sanicole Airshow in Belgium, Brussels on September 11, 2022. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
In 2017, to Navy pilots intentionally flew an EA-18G Growler to draw genitals in the skies over Washington State. The pilots in that case were punished by the Navy but did not lose their jobs as pilots.