Transponder hijacking code leads to bizjet diversion

 - May 22, 2008, 7:15 AM

A Gulfstream V erroneously squawked that a hijacking was under way as it crossed through Canadian airspace one late October afternoon, leading airspace defense officials to instruct it to land at Brandon, Manitoba. According to Canadian police, Nav Canada was dissatisfied with the response it received from the cockpit crew and directed the diversion. Upon landing, the jet, en route from Tokyo to Washington and operated by AOL Time Warner, was met by some 20 police officers, along with other emergency personnel. Preliminary investigation indicated that the pilot had inadvertently been squawking 7500 on his transponder. Police interviewed the aircraft’s six passengers and four crewmembers (nine Americans and one Belgian national) before all were released. The aircraft was allowed to proceed to Washington in the early evening.