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Who to call? Helicopters in the sky at night

YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm in Canada. Just now, a helicopter flew over our house flying very low (appx 100ft up) with no lights on. It's pitch dark outside during a new moon.

I don't think RCMP helicopters have night vision/infrared ability...

Weird question, who would I call to inquire about this? RCMP? Some air traffic control monitoring station? Who? I just want to know wtf it was

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Posts

  • WeretacoWeretaco Cubicle Gangster Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    They're common around here and are the RCMP looking for growops with heat sensors

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  • CycophantCycophant Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    RCMP definitely do have a few machines with FLIR and Nightvision ratings (though it's certainly a lot more rare up here than in the States). Alternatively, with your location being listed out on the East Coast, there's a good possibility it could also be a Navy/SAR helicopter, which definitely use nightvision.

    That being said, although I'm not a pilot I just fix helicopters, I'm fairly certain that they should still have their position lights (red/green/white) and probably the anti-collision strobe on while flying at night. So it seems a bit odd that the helicopter that flew so low overhead wouldn't have any light on. And also AFAIK, night flying usually entails certain restrictions, one of them being that you don't buzz around at such a low altitude (there's no way in hell you'd see wires and other such things, even with nightvision).

    I'd say call the local airport and report what you saw. They're the people that control the skies around you, and if they anyone knows what's up, they should. Unless you're in the middle of nowhere, and the local airport is a tiny (or uncontrolled) one, they'd be the people to talk to.

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  • ProPatriaMoriProPatriaMori Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    No lights sounds like military to me. When I was doing flight training in Jacksonville, FL, we were near a couple Naval Air Stations and they'd send out their helicopter pilots to do training with night vision googles. ATC would keep us separated from them because a) we couldn't see them and b) aircraft strobes are pretty bright and unpleasant for goggle users, or so I imagine.

    That said, if you really want to call someone I would try to look and see what military airbases are around you and try to call them if you can. I sincerely doubt they'd be impolite if you just want to know whether helicopters are doing night vision training near you. If you were wanting them to stop, that'd be another thing entirely.

    Also, I don't know about the RCMP's capabilities specifically, but I know that the Bell County Sheriff's department had a helicopter with an far-infrared camera mounted on a gimbal. I think it only cost something like $10,000, so it's not like it'd be unlikely or impossible for the RCMP to have infrared. NVGs/NODs are actually fairly cheap too, but I think IR is more useful to law enforcement. The only thing that really makes me think "no, wouldn't be the mounties" is that they were lights-out.

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  • YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    See that's why i'm so bothered by this... the lights were out. I would think all but military would have restrictions on low altitude flying at night with no lights.

    YourFatAuntSusan on
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  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    See that's why i'm so bothered by this... the lights were out. I would think all but military would have restrictions on low altitude flying at night with no lights.

    where in NS are you?
    I want to see I can hear/see this thing right now.

    tony_important on
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  • YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I'm outside of Yarmouth, on the southwest tip. I can't even find a contact phone number for CFB Greenwood. Or i'd call them.

    YourFatAuntSusan on
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  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Oh never mind.

    I thought that it was somewhere in Halifax. I thought it could be connected to the DROVES of police I saw driving/running around tonight.

    This is all I could find in terms of a contact.

    tony_important on
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  • YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Yeah, i'm not sure if a media contact is who I want though.

    YourFatAuntSusan on
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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I'm in Canada. Just now, a helicopter flew over our house flying very low (appx 100ft up) with no lights on. It's pitch dark outside during a new moon.

    I don't think RCMP helicopters have night vision/infrared ability...

    Weird question, who would I call to inquire about this? RCMP? Some air traffic control monitoring station? Who? I just want to know wtf it was

    I can guarantee RCMP or a similar agency has IR and night vision. It's the most effective way to catch game poachers and smugglers (don't know where you are, but there is a ton of smuggling between the US/Canada border around reservations...cigarettes are big ticket items believe it or not).

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Fallingman on
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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Oh my god. That guy is awesome. I got really confused though because when he started talking about "no ice in the arena" I thought he was talking about ice for drinks. I thought, "Maybe he's just mad because he can't get a cold coke at the game."

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • ZeonZeon Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Probably the police. Here in oshawa, ontario, the helicopter flies around, low, almost every night with no lights on. The only time they throw the strobe on is if they see "suspicious" people. Theyre looking for grow ops mainly.

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  • YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I would think there would be severe limits on low altitude flying over civilian homes with no lights. Even if you're using NV, it would be difficult to see powerlines or towers.

    Hell, a guy down the road from me has his own air strip for his Cessna. What would happen if that chopper was in the flight path of the Cessna and the Cessna pilot couldn't see him? It seems like it's a really, really bad idea to fly so low with no lights.

    edit: I just got off the phone with our local airport and was told that there is a 1000ft limit over towns and a 500ft limit over sparsely populated areas. Whatever it was, it was low enough to blow the trees around us as it passed. They also told me that the military has to advise them whever they are doing flights in the area, which nobody did.

    The RCMP in our area has only one helicopter, which is currently in Moncton, NB (a very long way from me) and the only civilian helicopter is more than 45 minutes away. I'm going to call him today and have a chat to see if he has any insight.

    YourFatAuntSusan on
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  • ProPatriaMoriProPatriaMori Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    1000 ft/500 ft sounds like the fixed wing limits we have here in the States. To the best of my knowledge, helicopters just need to be able to safely autorotate, which lets them get away with being lower so long as they're at appropriate speeds. I imagine Canada's aviation rules aren't too terribly different.

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  • YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    1000 ft/500 ft sounds like the fixed wing limits we have here in the States. To the best of my knowledge, helicopters just need to be able to safely autorotate, which lets them get away with being lower so long as they're at appropriate speeds. I imagine Canada's aviation rules aren't too terribly different.


    From the Canadian Aviation Regulations
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/CivilAviation/Regserv/Affairs/cars/PART6/602.htm
    (2) Except where conducting a take-off, approach or landing or where permitted under section 602.15, no person shall operate an aircraft

    (a) over a built-up area or over an open-air assembly of persons unless the aircraft is operated at an altitude from which, in the event of an emergency necessitating an immediate landing, it would be possible to land the aircraft without creating a hazard to persons or property on the surface, and, in any case, at an altitude that is not lower than

    (i) for aeroplanes, 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle located within a horizontal distance of 2,000 feet from the aeroplane,

    (ii) for balloons, 500 feet above the highest obstacle located within a horizontal distance of 500 feet from the balloon, or

    (iii) for an aircraft other than an aeroplane or a balloon, 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle located within a horizontal distance of 500 feet from the aircraft; and

    (b) in circumstances other than those referred to in paragraph (a), at a distance less than 500 feet from any person, vessel, vehicle or structure.

    YourFatAuntSusan on
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  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Lemme know what you dig up, you've got me all interested

    tony_important on
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  • ProPatriaMoriProPatriaMori Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I stand corrected.

    ProPatriaMori on
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