Sun 22 Jan 2023 11:33:48 AM CST
I've watched the night skies for many years, but only recently found myself with the time to do it whenever I wanted for as long as I pleased. It was only a year or so ago that I noticed unusual things. Recently they don't seem, well, normal. I believe it was rather sudden, that is, for years I saw nothing unusual and now I see it every day. Or night.
I'm familiar with the "black helicopter" jokes and such. When they began back whenever, 1980s I suppose, by the 1990s they were pretty common, after the Waco Massacre and Ruby Ridge. A lot of people were becoming concerned about the government surveillance and attacks. I don't remember if the choppers that shot up the Waco folks were black or not. Don't know if helicopters were used at all at Ruby Ridge. Probably not. Military helicopters had always been green, usually the flat olive green. Still were when I ended my association with the armed forces in the late 1980s. Somewhere along there they went to a flat dark grey. I noticed the markings were less visible, perhaps some thought they were being more secretive. But those were pretty common, I'd see a few of the the Hueys fly by now and then, and of course the Blackhawks these days are the ones I see most.
I first noticed them a few miles south....
about a year ago. From my position, let's say northeast Arkansas, I first noticed them at midnight. At or just after midnight the first ones appeared to the south, coming from the west. I'm guessing 2,000 feet or less, but maybe more. Eventually I took a midnight drive south on the nearest highway and determined that they were crossing about five to six miles south of me. As the first one crossed Crowleys Ridge, the next would appear. About five or six, usually, at that interval.
My best guess is they're Blackhawks, as they look like the illustration above. The bright light on the side moves, sometimes pointed directly at my position but at others up or to the front.
I see Blackhawks occasionally in daylight, usually in groups of three to five, usually at about the same altitude as the ones at night. Eventually I noticed them to the north, further off, probably ten miles or so. About the same intervals. I noticed later that a similar procession occurs at around 2200, both to the north and south.
This occurs on every weekday, but not on weekends.
This may have been the case from the beginning, but recently seems more frequent, but I have only noticed it in recent months. Much higher, I estimate 10,000 at most, small fixed-wing aircraft cross overhead, mostly from east to west. Usually one at a time, at irregular intervals. They seem to be something like a small twin-engine commuter plane, maybe a 15-20 seat. They fly very slow, and at times seemingly impossibly slow. Whatever it seems to have a very low stall speed. Usually there is one at a time, but occasionally two cross more or less together. While east to west in a straight line is most common, occasionally one takes a slightly curved path, either east to west or occasionally west to east.
Fri 27 Jan 2023 09:56:43 PM CST
That got weird quickly. Last night, actually this morning after the midnight procession to the north had passed, half hour or so here comes one from the southeast, lower maybe or just closer to my position (the green dot) and makes a sharp left and goes south. Wonder if I should stop waving at them.
Fri 03 Feb 2023 08:16:06 PM CST
Tonight, before the first procession (around 1900-1930) I saw a single helicopter low to the northeast. Hovering for a long while before heading slowly south. Then I saw, high and to the west of its position what looked like a flare deployment. Too dark to see the aircraft. About ten minutes later another another one about the same position. From the look, if it was a 130 it would have been moving east to west.
Tue 07 Feb 2023 08:08:58 PM CST
Okey-dokey. Last night, 2100-2200, a lot of helicopters north, probably a mile up to two or three miles out. The closer ones were the same as the ones to the south, about 80% certain Black Hawks, others were too far away. Just three or four of the small fixed-wing jobs crossing, one jet but was likely commercial. They sometimes come over low enough to see clearly (in daylight) and to locate by sound.
At any time there were four to six in my frame (about 90 degrees with due north in the middle) and two or three went into a hover for several minutes at a time.
This morning three C-130s came over as indicated, very low. I would guess 2k at best.
Cloudy now, don't know if anything will be visible.
Sun 12 Feb 2023 08:11:38 PM CST
Between 1800-1900 a couple of the usual in the north. Fewer than on weeknights so far. The little fixed-wings are about as usual, two did something unusual. That isn't a 90-degree turn but close. The second one (about 10-15 minutes later) had a bright light flash on the right side a few times as it was almost directly overhead. Several flashes at irregular intervals, much brighter than the wing lights, like a camera flash.
Earlier, just after dark a jet flew over west to east, just low enough to hear. Light and temperature was so I could see the contrail.
Tue 14 Feb 2023 08:22:15 PM CST
1900-2000: Procession of helicopters to the north is higher, moving at long intervals as usual, no loitering.
Most of the images I use are on this or other websites I fool around with. Feel free to steal'em. Here's the text so you don't have to run them through an OCR filter. If you need one, here's one I like:
Sun 12 Feb 2023 08:16:42 PM CST