For those curious about the Tennessee plane bound for Stillwater…McGhee Tyson FBO worker told @kfor that particular plane's tail number (N111UT) is no longer registered to the university. Also, Tennessee's plane had yet to take off.
— Dylan Buckingham (@DylanBuckingham) November 28, 2017
Social Media exploded on Tuesday morning after reports surfaced that Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is meeting with the University of Tennessee in Dallas to discuss the Vol’s coaching vacancy.
Oklahoma State sideline reporter Robert Allen reported that Tennessee may offer to double Gundy’s current salary of $4.2 million per year, and ESPN reported that Tennessee and Gundy have already been in talks over the phone and Tuesday’s meeting would be their first face-to-face. Gundy has already informed Oklahoma State of the talks as well.
Where there is smoke there is fire, and those flames were fueled when popular flight tracking service FlightAware showed a plane owned by the University of Tennessee leaving from Knoxville, TN, at 1:30 PM EST and is scheduled to land in Stillwater, OK, at 2:30 PM CST.
So what does that mean?
Well, the meeting between Gundy and Tennessee was reportedly to take place in Dallas, TX at 11:00 AM CST, so worst-case scenario for OSU fans is that the flight to Stillwater is to pick up Gundy’s family for a future press conference in Tennessee.
However, Oklahoma State fans shouldn’t worry just yet. While the flight information does exist in FlightAware, it may not be entirely accurate. As SBNation first pointed out, flight reports in FlightAware can be false. Similar to how Wikipedia entries can be changed to troll another fan base, flight information can be submitted that isn’t accurate. In the past, fans have manufactured flights to troll another fan base. In some cases the plane’s tail number listed in FlightAware didn’t even exist in the FAA’s database.
In this case though, the plane’s tale number does exist in the FAA’s database. It just isn’t registered to the University of Tennessee. We confirmed that it’s registered to an individual in Dammeron Valley, Utah.
This plane also has no previous flight records on FlightAware.
So, it’s fake then, right?
We were sent this photo via Twitter.
Hahahaa this is definitely not UTs plane pic.twitter.com/YMuO257hRr
— Kate Smith (@kate_vols2) November 28, 2017
You’ll notice that the UT logo is on the tail, the plane is trimmed in UT orange and that the plane’s tail number matches the FlightAware report. Images can be easily manipulated though, so we did some digging. It appears that the image is from a Blogspot post made in 2012.
We also found this image from 2007, showing what appears to be the same plane with a different paint job, but still with an older UT logo on the tail.
According to FlightAware, the plane was first registered to Tennessee in 2006, and again in 2008. It’s clear that, at least at one time, the plane did belong to the University of Tennessee.
The question is, what happened to the plane from 2012 to today? Does it still belong to Tennessee or has it been sold, and this is all an elaborate ruse? Unfortunately, we don’t have that answer. If we find out more, we will be sure to keep you updated. For now, take everything with a grain of salt.