AN AIRCRAFT following a strange flightpath over North Wales sparked interest at the weekend.

Many people saw the plane flying overhead on Sunday (March 7).

It passed over Wrexham, performed two tight loops over Denbighshire, and flew back and forth in a zig-zag pattern over Anglesey and down to Porthmadog and Criccieth.

Those who saw the plane, which flew at a height of about 18,000ft for several hours, shared their thoughts on social media, and the sighting also caught the interest of UFO groups.

It was perhaps more noteworthy due to the small number of planes in the sky due to the current coronavirus restrictions.

In turns out the aircraft was a Reims F406 Caravan II owned by Reconnaissance Ventures Ltd (RVL Group). It has taken off from Burton upon Trent before heading to North Wales.

The company says the flight, to carry out surveying and mapping work, was all above board.

A spokesman for the RVL Grouo said: "We regret any disturbance our night flights may have caused you and your readers. Let me assure you that the flight to which you refer to was carried out in full accordance with all applicable regulations as issued by the UK civil aviation authorities.

"Some of the survey and mapping work we undertake for environment and other government agencies and entities can only be carried out at night for operational and technical reasons. These are often, but not limited to, availability of access to busy airspace. Another reason is that the air tends to be more stable at night which is helpful for survey accuracy.

"The sensors on board the aircraft collect data in ‘strips’ of varying width depending on the resolution of data required, hence the up and down flying patterns you might see on Flightradar24. These ‘strips’ are then joined together to produce a complete survey of the area being studied. Night-time flights are usually collecting thermal data or LiDAR imagery to be used in constructing 3D models of the terrain, most often to calculate changes in flood risk by environmental agencies.

"As these aircraft are conducting survey work on a specified area, it is uncommon that we have to cover the same area frequently. However, return visits are sometimes necessary to re-capture data or to further investigate issues identified during previous surveys."