I'm subscribed to get e-mail notifications from Novinite, a Bulgarian news agency, their stories are available in English plus they let you set filters so I found it to be a nice way to pick up on Bulgarian AF news... if there will ever be something noteworthy... in most causes the stories with matching keywords are about other subjects.
So Monday, this message reached my inbox:
A number of phone calls from terrified Bulgarians have been received on the emergency 112 hotline Monday notifying about a plane flying very low possibly because it sustained damage.
They have said the Airbus was flying about 300 meters above the Trakiya Highway in southern Bulgaria and was attempting to land there. Other witnesses have reported seeing smoke coming from the aircraft.
It was followed up by:
The low-flying plane, which terrified people in southern Bulgaria Monday, turned out to be an Israeli military Boeing 707 craft.
The news was reported by the Bulgarian National Radio, saying the flight was part of a joint Bulgarian-Israeli military training exercise.
Boeing 707 has engines which blow large clouds of black smoke.
It was on Plovdiv's timetable. Trakiya Highway lies north of Plovdiv, Plovdiv airport is further down south. But north of the highway, there's also Graf Ignatievo air base, the main fighter base, often used by US military too. So I'd say, training local traffic or flew to the wrong airfield, anyway nothing special then.
But that's low, and I just found it funny that the 707's smoke prompted people to call the emergency services. So thought I share this, been a while since I posted something.
Israel is holding onto their KC-707 tanker fleet, but afaik upgrades concerned life extension, the cockpit and boom, not the engines. A quick look-around didn't result in definitive answers, but seems they still have two VC-707 examples for passenger/VIP use. Of course the KC-707s are conversions and can be used for transport too, but it's said they preserve flying hours as much as possible, so this may have been a VC-707 as it was bringing in servicemen for the exercise.