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Weird Aint It?

October 2001

The year was 1990 or 1991 and the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport was under partial construction for additional aircraft parking stands and taxiways.

Regarding that the construction was still underway, part of the parking stands were paved but not illuminated as yet. Since the relevant rules did provide to the parking of aircraft at places not yet illuminated (by means of light posts or similar) as a Handling Agent Supervisor, I was allowed to have the client aircraft parked there and by putting phosphorescent cones around the aircraft, leave it there for the rest of the night.

It was my night shift and I was assigned to this Austrian executive jet, to welcome it, ensure parking safety measures and have the CIP's and the crew go to their hotels comfortably and efficiently. Anyhow; as I went to the pitch-dark parking stand to wait for the aircraft (by then in final approach for landing) I left only the parking lights of my apron-minivan open so the headlights would not distract the attention of other taxiing aircraft.

I was at the far end of the newly built and freshly paved apron section in my minivan reading my roster when I saw the pair of airplane floodlights swerve from right to left, actually indicating that an aircraft had left the main taxiway to enter the parking stands area. I looked up to see a three-engine (most probably a Boeing 727) jet, being able to tell only by it's silhouette against the faint "light pollution" of the huge airport. I could not however, see the tail logo or any other detail. One thing to attract my attention was that the interior lights were off, which made me think it was a ferry (empty positioning flight).

I was somewhat angry that there were no marshalling guys to wave her into the parking stand. As the jet turned towards the stand, leaving the center steering line, I thought she might need a bit of marshalling and I got out of my gaze, which was fixed on the aircraft, for at least the last 7 to 8 minutes to put the rosters away and drive to that end of the apron.

As I started the minivan and put it into gear, I looked up to see an empty apron! Nothing around... I turned on my high beams to see if the aircraft had shut down all systems to put everything back into pitch dark... Nothing... Those of you who saw the floodlights of a jet know how bright they are. The floodlights were that bright. I even heard the thunder of the JT8D- 17 engines! (I do not remember if I heard them fade down to stop or if they abruptly fell silent).

I keyed my Walkie talkie to ask the OPS Center to ask them if they had an incoming aircraft to park at that part of the apron and got the answer that no, they had not... Puzzled and actually a bit freaked out, I kept on waiting until the aircraft I was assigned to came in carrying out all the procedure to go back to the OPS Center. I pointed out to the event which took place at that part of the apron. Most of my colleagues laughed it away, only one colleague, a mostly silent person who usually tried to avoid socialising came over to me and he told me he believed in me but nothing else.

About 10 years later, (last year) I came accross him in a shopping mall and after shaking hands and greeting each other, we decided to sit and have a coffee and remember the "good ol days".

After two donuts and two cups of coffee each, he asked me if I remember the aircraft that vanished. I said I did. He drifted away in sort of a trance and told me that he saw the very same aircraft at a different parking stand before I did and he believed that it was the ghost of a Boeing 727 which took off from Istanbul, ferrying to the Northern Cyprus Turkish Republic airport Lefkose to pick up its passengers.

The aircraft had somehow crashed into the northern mountains while descending to land, killing all on board. I remembered that fateful flight, the incident holding much resemblance with the Flight 19 of the Bermuda triangle. Just as a rescue plane had vanished right after the airplanes of the flight were lost, a helicopter which was carrying members of the same airline company had vanished too... I do not know what to believe in. Was it a ghost or a "reflection of time" where I saw another actual plane which parked a time ago or which was to park there at a time later then I saw it...

Weird ain't it ?

00:00 / 01:04
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