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Web-service sends false hijack alarm

Monday, October 31st, 2011 by Servage

A few days ago, there were suddenly reports about a hijacking of an airplane over Europe. A flight from Istanbul to Copenhagen apparently used the transponder code 7500, which is the international standard for a hijacking-situation. The pilots can set this code, if possible, to silently alert air traffic control (how it works in practice, I’m not sure, because it seems this is even known by hijackers nowadays).

The false alarm was triggered by a web-service called FlightRadar24, where enthusiasts can follow air traffic. With mobile apps it’s even possible to simply point an iPhone in the direction of an airplane in the sky, and you can get information about the flight. This app also monitors transponder codes, and can send alarms if emergencies or other situations occur.

So when this web-app suddenly started to send alarms about a hijacked flight, people and press around the world started to worry. It appears, however, that this whole situation was purely a mistake, probably based on a human error in the aircraft, of technical problem with the web-service. No one really knows yet. Either way, it’s pretty amazing how a simple web-service can cause so much confusion. And I guess the guys at flight radar are happy, even though the had to apologize, the free press is priceless.

How wo you promote your apps and services? Do you have any cool campaigns? And was this maybe a promotion trick?

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Categories: Software & Webapps

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