A U.S. military plane recently drew attention for flying in several looping patterns that created the shape of a penis near a Russian base.
Over the course of about two hours, a KC-135 Stratotanker flew a distinctly phallic flight path off the coast of Syria, directly west of a Russian naval base in the city of Tartus, Task and Purpose reported.
It isn’t clear how close the plane, designed for refueling other aircraft in midair, came to the base, but it never entered Syrian airspace, an anonymous Air Force official told the outlet.
Capt. Ryan Goss, spokesman for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, said the shape of the flight path was purely coincidental.
The plane “adjusted between multiple different flight tracks during the course of the mission,” Goss said. “While these adjustments and movements appear to create a vulgar outline, there was no intent by the pilots or the unit to do so.”
The plane had taken off from an international airport on the Greek island of Crete. It then flew east of the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, then flew in an oval shape flanked by two circles, according to Task and Purpose.
The Russian base, classified by Russia as a “material-technical support point,” is the country’s only navy facility outside of the former Soviet Union, according to Voice of America. Russia is expanding its repair facilities there so that ships don’t have to go all the way back to the Black Sea for maintenance.
Few other details on the flight were available. Air Force Col. Damien Pickart, top spokesman for Air Mobility Command, said the crew flew “a refueling orbit consistent with requirements that met the needs of receiver aircraft,” Task and Purpose reported.
In recent years, the Air Force has also clarified that phallic vapor trails left by F-35 fighter jets above Phoenix, Arizona during a training exercise were accidental.
However, incidents like that haven’t always been unintentional, Task and Purpose reported.
The Navy disciplined two aviators in 2017 who had deliberately made similar trails in the sky over Washington State, and the next year, two Marines were grounded for the same thing, the outlet reported.