the CIA's covert airline
N2189M-N2731G is widely alleged to be a CIA-operated aircraft. Under its previous registration of N2189M it achieved notoriety for being allegedly involved in extraordinary rendition. It was re-registered in December, 2006 under a new tail number, N2731G.
|Registered owner:||JJS&D LLC, previously Rapid Air Trans, Inc.|
|Operator:||Tepper Aviation, Inc.|
|Previous reg numbers::||N2189M|
Known movements and sightings
Bob Sikes airport is where Tepper Aviation is based. Notable destinations for the plane include the CIA's training facility at Camp Peary, and the landing strip at Desert Rock Airport, a disused nuclear testing facility in the Nevada desert.
|21-June-2007||Sendai, Japan||Anchorage, Alaska|||
|18 May 2007||Budapest Ferihegy (LHBP), Hungary|||
|29-May-2006||Bob Sikes (KCEW)||Grantley Adams Int'l (TBPB), Barbados||14:38 GMT||Unknown|||
|12-May-2006||Camp Peary Landing Strip (W94)||Bob Sikes (KCEW)||17:21 GMT||19:59 GMT|||
|12-May-2006||Allen C Perkinson Blackstone Aaf (KBKT)||Newport News Williamsburg Int'l (KPHF)||11:43 GMT||11:44 GMT|||
|09-May-2006||Bob Sikes (KCEW)||Allen C Perkinson Blackstone Aaf (KBKT)||20:24 GMT||22:22 GMT|||
|27-Apr-2006||Laurinburg Maxton (KMEB)||Bob Sikes (KCEW)||18:00 GMT||19:34 GMT|||
|27-Apr-2006||Camp Peary Landing Strip (W94)||Laurinburg Maxton (KMEB)||15:09 GMT||15:57 GMT|||
|24-Apr-2006||Bob Sikes (KCEW)||Newport News Williamsburg Int'l (KPHF)||17:27 GMT||19:34 GMT|||
|06-Apr-2006||Palmdale Prod Flt Test Instl Af Plt 42 (KPMD)||Bob Sikes (KCEW)||17:07 GMT||21:50 GMT|||
|19-Mar-2006||Bob Sikes (KCEW)||Mojave (KMHV)||14:46 GMT||21:18 GMT|||
|4 Feb 2006||San Juan - Luis Munoz Marin International, Puerto Rico|||
|25 June 2005||Oporto (Francisco sa Carneiro) (OPO/LPPR), Portugal|||
|1 April 2005||Lajes / Azores (AB4) (TER/LPLA), Portugal|||
|31 March 2005||Lajes / Azores, Portugal|||
|26 May 2004||Prestwick||Gander Intl|||
|25 May 2004||Praha/Ruzyne||Prestwick|||
|19 January 2004||Prestwick||Amman/Marka|||
|18 January 2004||Gander Intl||Prestwick|||
|December 7, 2003||Tenerife Sur - Reina Sofia (TFS/GCTS), Spain||Unknown|||
|4 December 2003||Prestwick||Frankfurt Main|||
|3 December 2003||Goose Bay||Prestwick|||
|21 September 2003||Prestwick||Gander Intl|||
|20 September 2003||Genova/Sestri||Prestwick|||
|24 March 2003||Prestwick||Frankfurt Main|||
|23 March 2003||Stephenville||Prestwick|||
|8 Jan 2003||Desert Rock Airport (DRA)||Andrews AFB Airport (ADW)|||
|8 Jan 2003||Phoenix/Williams Gateway Airport (IWA)||Desert Rock Airport (DRA)|||
|8 Jan 2003||Norfolk International Airport, Virginia (ORF)||Desert Rock Airport (DRA)|||
|31 Dec 2002||Desert Rock Airport (DRA)||Phoenix/Williams Gateway Airport (IWA)|||
For sightings of the plane where it is not clear if the plane was arriving, departing, or neither, the location is shown as spanning the 'Origin' and 'Destination' columns (this applies to most sightings from aviation photography sites).
Take the Tepper flightdeck tour
In June 2007, in a somewhat remarkable display of glasnost, the crew of N2731G apparently allowed a fellow pilot at Japan's Sendai airport to tour the aircraft and photograph the flightdeck. A posting by the pilot on a pilot reports message board claims that:
- "There was an atmosphere of Air America with these gents, especially their obvious reluctance to be included in the photos I took. A request to take of photo of the cargo hold area - 'Is it okay to take a shot here? I guess there's nothing sensitive?' - was declined with, 'Better off not to, there's some diplomatic material onboard.'"
- "Having been unaware of Tepper's association with the CIA - and moreso this particular aircraft's history - I have to admit I think my naievete was probably what allowed me to be given access onboard. Although I observed only 4 crew - 2 pilots, 1 F/E and the 'mechanic', sob was given as 5 to ATC. Thinking back about the size of the 'mechanic', I wonder what the cargo was that was being hauled back to the US?"
The purported photos of the flightdeck are available here.
Resources and articles
- FAA records for N2731G. Undated, accessed February 4, 2007.
- 'Kaptin M', Message board posting, PIREP.org (Pilot Reports site), June 21, 2007 2:23pm.
- Szabó Gábor (photographer), Photo of N2731G at Budapest Ferihegy, jetphotos.net, May 18, 2007.
- Nagy János (photographer), Photo of N2731G at Budapest Ferihegy, planepictures.net, May 18, 2007.
- Tracking data for N2189M, flightaware.com (screengrab). Undated, accessed June 5, 2006. Registration req'd to view historical data.
- Photos of N2189M at airliners.net.
- Photos of N2189M at myaviation.net.
- Eurocontrol UK flight data (PDF), Department of Transport, Freedom of Information Act request. Undated, accessed May 14, 2006.
- "Desert Rock, Nevada", published by Keith Stein's ISI Consulting website. Now only available from the Google cache (dated June 11, 2005).
- 'Kaptin M', Message board posting, PIREP.org (pilot reports site), June 23, 2007, 12:07pm.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Camp Peary ("The Farm")
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Desert Rock Airport
- Extraordinary rendition
- Rapid Air Trans, Inc.
- Tepper Aviation, Inc.
Other external resources
- "Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and ‘disappearance’", Amnesty International report, April 5, 2006; 562KB 51-page pdf.
- "Aircraft landings", Commons Hansard, 17 March 2006, column 2508W. Transport Secretary Alastair Darling gives details of N2189M's movements in and out of the UK.
N2731G photo searches
- All photos of N2731G on the planepictures.net site. Undated, accessed July 15, 2007.
- All photos of N2731G on the jetphotos.net site. Undated, accessed July 15, 2007.
- All photos of N2731G on the airliners.net site. Undated, accessed July 15, 2007.
- All photos of N2731G on the myaviation.net site. Undated, accessed July 15, 2007.