Many New Yorkers were alarmed this afternoon by a USAF C-130 and several Black Hawk helicopters that could be seen circling at low altitudes over Manhattan. Per the Washington Post, U.S. Air Force Col. Nicholas Broccoli, the vice commander of the Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing, said the aircraft were conducting "standard military training." That said, there is seemingly very little that is "standard" about a C-130 circling at low altitudes over Manhattan for 30 minutes.
A video of the plane that's been circling Manhattan pic.twitter.com/Bsj5ANEeW1— Alp Ozcelik (@alplicable) December 13, 2016
88-2102, the HC-130N over Manhattan, belongs to the New York Air National Guard https://t.co/fJZnbP2KWC— Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) December 13, 2016
According to Buzzfeed deputy news director Tom Namako, the NYPD was not notified of military aircraft expected to be flying at low altitudes over the city.
The aircraft apparently flew in a crisscrossing pattern over Midtown Manhattan with the center of the pattern roughly aligned over Trump Tower. So while the mission of the aircraft has still not been revealed, it's certainly not difficult to see how it might have something to do with defending President-elect Trump.
Seeing multiple reports of a USAF C-130 and several Black Hawk helicopters circling low (3,000 feet) over Manhattan.— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) December 13, 2016
No, that is not normal pic.twitter.com/DaFByrAX3O
The C-130 belongs to the 102nd Rescue Squadron of the New York Air National Guard.— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) December 13, 2016
Not normal activity, but it has already departed NYC. https://t.co/y2Jl5lSQAz
Efforts to confirm details about the purpose of the aircraft with the FAA received the following ambiguous response.
update from FAA pic.twitter.com/ABMxzSRZmD— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 13, 2016
Meanwhile, several anxious New Yorkers took to twitter to post sightings of the aircraft:
A military plane is circling Manhattan.. Makes me extremely uneasy...— Jem ???????? (@JustJem24) December 13, 2016
This plane that's been circling over manhattan is starting to freak me out. pic.twitter.com/L1EcBYOgpr— jon rubino (@OkFineItsMe) December 13, 2016
Giant military plane circling (and circling) midtown Manhattan right now. Not weird at all, right? Yeah?— Laura Motta (@guttersniper) December 13, 2016