Pilot Writes "RELAX" With Flight Path Along Ukraine Border


Katy Evans

Katy is Managing Editor at IFLScience where she oversees editorial content from News articles to Features, and even occasionally writes some.

Managing Editor

relax flight

Well, that's one way to open diplomatic negotiations. Image Credit: Flightradar 24 

Possibly in an attempt to calm rising tensions amid concerns of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, a pilot has written “RELAX” in the sky with his plane along neighboring Moldova’s border.

Whether sky-based diplomacy has ever been successful is unknown, but we – and around 30,000 people tracking the flight in real-time – appreciate the efforts.


The pilot’s message is visible thanks to Flightradar 24, a live flight tracking website that occasionally offers up any curious messages it comes across, from messages to Valentine's sweethearts to celebrating the COVID vaccine rollout to... crabs.


There's been a lot of interest in flights over Ukraine recently, as rumors persist that the increased military presence on both sides could be leading to an invasion by Russia.

Despite President Vladimir Putin's claim that Russia is pulling back its troops from the Ukrainian border, NATO leaders have said over 7,000 more troops have arrived at the border in the last two days. 

On February 15, Fightradar 24 shared that a US Air Force Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk flying over Ukraine was its most tracked flight on the site.


At over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) up and about 130 kilometers (80 miles) wide, the RELAX message is not subtle. The Air Moldova plane, which also has the callsign RELAX, departed from Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, for a 1-hour 40-minute flight on February 17, according to Flightradar 24 data.  

Whether the message is enough to stop an invasion remains to be seen. It could have been worse. We don't know who Ryan is, but someone is not happy with him



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