Reducing the events of the past few days to complaints about a noisy airplane circling above Capitol Hill for hours isn’t helping anybody. So, here, read this first before continuing in this post:
But we are the Capitol Hill Blog so sometimes it has to be about the small things.
Wednesday, the Washington State Patrol’s plane added a new element to the nights of protest on Capitol Hill — its droning, endless noise.
You might see it again. “We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t necessary,” a WSP spokesperson told CHS Thursday.
The plane’s mission, the spokesperson said, was “flying in support of the operations on the ground.” With state troopers working with Seattle Police and the National Guard as part of the crowd control forces in place around the East Precinct, the plane’s FLIR thermal imaging camera was providing commanders at the protest with views of the streets and activities happening around the neighborhood. When there were reports of people possibly throwing objects from a nearby roof overnight, the plane was able to help police find the trespassers.
Plane N305DK had a long night. Leaving a few times only to refuel, the craft finally called it a night sometime around 2 AM.
The WSP spokesperson said he had heard about complaints about the plane’s noise. One issue, he said, was that N305DK was flying lower than normal due to “another aircraft” in the airspace above it.
CHS also reported on area aviation enthusiasts identifying plane
N021LS #N921LS soaring high above Seattle, also making an endless series of loops and circles. That plane is believed to be an FBI surveillance craft. A representative for the FBI office in Seattle answered CHS’s request for information about the secret plane thusly:
The WSP spokesperson also declined to discuss more details of the other aircraft other to add that the patrol’s plane usually operates at a higher, less noisy altitude. “We try to keep a little higher so we can reduce that sound,” he said.
The planes have joined busy skies above the protests with drones, the Sheriff’s helicopter, and news choppers near constant voyeurs to the actions below.
Whether N305DK makes another appearance during the protests on Capitol Hill will depend on priorities elsewhere in the state. The spokesperson said it is the only craft of its kind in Washington’s fleet.
“It depends on where there are issues. And where it is needed most.”
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