PEOPLE who spotted a low flying plane in the area can put their minds at ease after it was revealed the craft was on a test flight.
The firm Oil Spill Response’s Boeing 727 was seen over the Solent off Lee-on-the-Solent on Wednesday at around 6.45pm.
Many of our readers witnessed the plane flying over, including Pom Dekiwi, who took the above video.
The company’s regional director Rob James said the plane did three low level flights in a designated area.
He said: ‘It was a Boeing 727, which is a new dispersement application platform that we’re developing. It wasn’t spraying anything.
‘It was just practising its low level approaches.’
The plane could be used to drop material on oil spills across the globe.
The low flying craft sparked a flurry of questions on social media websites Twitter and Facebook.
Patsie Ruzewicz, of Gosport, posted a picture of the plane online and asked if anyone knew what it was.
She told The News: ‘It was so big and so low. We were driving along Lee seafront and my daughter saw it.
‘It seemed very low and there was no noise that I could hear.’
Pom Dekiwi, 53, of Harcourt Road, Gosport, was down at Lee seafront with his daughter when he spotted the low-flying plane.
He was quick to video the plane on its voyage.
‘I was on Lee-on-the-Solent seafront having a burger with my daughter and we were chatting away,’ he said.
‘I stopped mid-sentence and said “look at that”.
‘It came along the seafront really low. It looked as though it was going to crash – it was going so slow and so low.
‘It was a sudden dramatic end to the evening.’
Bob Wealthy, secretary of the Gosport Aviation Society, said the airspace over the Solent is unrestricted.
He said: ‘It’s an unrestricted area over the sea unless you infringe onto Daedalus or Fleetlands. Certainly some parts of the Solent are regarded as unrestricted. You can fly low over the sea but not over built-up areas.’
Mr James, of the Southampton Oil Spill Response firm, added the firm currently uses Hercules planes.
He said: ‘It’s part of an ongoing project.’
The firm has been mobilised to tackle oil spills in the Gulf, the North Sea and off Greece and Nigeria in recent years.