UPDATE: Sunday morning helicopter over south West Seattle

helicopterwatch.png8:49 AM: Some are asking, so here’s all we know: Heard the helicopter long before we saw it, to the south of where we are (Upper Fauntleroy/Gatewood). Sounded military. We stood outside waiting for a glimpse, finally got it as it passed, eastbound, to the south of us, over Arbor Heights. Hard to tell on a gray morning but it looked private, not military. (If you got a clearer look, let us know!)

9:50 PM: After much discussion in comments throughout the day/evening, we’ve learned that it was most likely the King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit‘s second helicopter, Guardian Two, headed back in from the South Sound. It’s a UH-1H military surplus helicopter, which would explain the loudness.

31 Replies to "UPDATE: Sunday morning helicopter over south West Seattle"

  • Rebecca March 22, 2015 (9:09 am)

    I’ve seen and heard it pass over us in Roxhill twice this morning. Its not military, but I couldn’t make out any news channel or other obvious markings.

    • WSB March 22, 2015 (9:21 am)

      TV helicopters aren’t staffed, and therefore don’t fly, on weekends unless there is a MAJOR event (Channel 7 for Seafair, for example). Definitely not TV. Always easier to rule out what it wasn’t … I wish often for an aerial version of MarineTraffic.com (which usually ID’s ships), but FlightAware isn’t quite the same. – TR

  • miws March 22, 2015 (9:21 am)

    I heard it over Highland Park/S. Delridge, also thought it “sounded Military”, and thought about stepping out to see if I could spot it, from my mostly straight up perspective. Sounded very low.


    Decided to wait to hear if it was going to pass, or hover/circle, and it did the former.



  • ACG March 22, 2015 (9:33 am)

    It was crazy loud in AH. No idea what type it was though.

  • anonyme March 22, 2015 (10:11 am)

    Looked like it was white and black/gray? Could that be Coast Guard? It was large and had a ‘different’ shape than what I’m used to seeing.

    • WSB March 22, 2015 (10:13 am)

      Coast Guard is always orangeish-red/white or sometimes all-orangeish red. Someday, I swear, we’re going to find a helicopter consultant and put her/him on a retainer fee …

  • AwakeNow March 22, 2015 (10:19 am)

    It was gun metal black & flew W to E directly down 98th Ave SW in Arbor Heights. So low I thought it was landing on my street. Even Guardian One doesn’t fly that low when searching neighborhoods.

  • Jason March 22, 2015 (10:29 am)

    I’m just off 100th in Arbor Heights and it was really loud here.

  • Tacitus March 22, 2015 (10:35 am)

    I don’t get all of the angst about this. It’s a helicopter, and it was flying somewhere. No need for defcon 3.

    • WSB March 22, 2015 (10:36 am)

      We’re not hearing any angst. Just curiosity about something unusual, which is what all news great and small boils down to, eventually. And this one was unusually loud.

  • miws March 22, 2015 (10:52 am)

    anonyme, or others that saw it; was it a “double egg-beater”? That’s what it sounded like to me, based on past sightings, and hearing them?


    Tacitus, I’m not hearing any angst, either, (so far). But it has been known to happen on helicopter related stories. ;-)



    • WSB March 22, 2015 (10:53 am)

      No, it wasn’t double. Single. That much, I could tell from here.

  • AHfamily March 22, 2015 (10:55 am)

    Yes, extremely low and loud down 98th, no markings. Wonder if this helicopter was from the same annoying company that sends several small planes, ferrying tourists, from Boeing Field along that same flight path many times every hour over Vashon Island and back, directly over our house. Wish they would share the joy by varying this flight path, say, over Magnolia? Arbor Heights has endured years of this noisy and intrusive disturbance.

  • m March 22, 2015 (11:06 am)

    It was a private copter. prospective buyer of the house listed for $48m on Vashon.

  • G March 22, 2015 (12:12 pm)


    Sitting down here in a LA coffee shop watching thousands of cyclists, walkers, old and young, and everyone else in between go by on Ventura (a festive closed street day) and I burst out laughing….not knocking anyone’s comments, just hit the funny one. Have a good Sunday everyone.

  • SillyGoose March 22, 2015 (12:27 pm)

    I would love to own this beautiful property, wow amazing!!

  • miws March 22, 2015 (12:42 pm)

    Thanks, WSB.


    Come to think of it, there have been other times when a chopper sounded like a double rotor, but then upon actually seeing it, saw that it was just a very low-flying single.



  • WS Heli pilot March 22, 2015 (12:52 pm)

    Happy to be your heli consultant. What’s that retainer look like? :) and AHfamily, there is no company that “ferries tourists” out that way. You just happen to be under the westbound departure flight path from Boeing field. Blame seatac. We have to stay low to be out of their airspace on the way west.

  • artsea March 22, 2015 (1:43 pm)

    We need to be aware if private helicopters are flying over W.S. residential neighborhoods. And why. Helicopters are much noisier and more annoying than other aircraft. We never want to get like some cities where helicopters are flying around all day. Remember when that guy who owned that company on Delridge just south of the W.S. Bridge wanted to be allowed to commute right across W.S. to and from his home on Vashon Island to the roof of that building. Seattle said no…..so he packed up his toys and moved away.

    • WSB March 22, 2015 (1:51 pm)

      If this helicopter truly was taking someone to see Misty Isle Farms, that’s actually one of the properties “that guy” – Thomas Stewart – left behind when he died and his family died in a helicopter crash five years ago, datapoint. He had said he left Washington (in 2006) because of the estate tax.
      And regarding G’s note from Los Angeles, LAPD alone has 19 helicopters. People are used to them there. Here, helicopter activity is still rare enough that people want to know what it’s about. SPD has zero; when air support is sought or accepted, it’s from the King County Sheriff’s Department, which has two helicopters (generally only one up at a time, and it’s not even up every night – listen to the scanner sometime and you are likely to eventually hear ‘is Guardian One available?’ ‘no’).

  • hopey March 22, 2015 (1:52 pm)

    Anyone else notice the irony in someone taking a helicopter tour of a property that’s for sale because the owner died in… a helicopter accident?

  • Jim March 22, 2015 (4:34 pm)

    Of interest… It was a collision of Seattle Police Department Air 3 with a Boeing Field bound Cessna, killing everyone in both aircraft, that brought an end to Seattle SPD Air patrol. June 21 1974.

  • heather March 22, 2015 (5:49 pm)

    Maybe it was the mother ship for Amazon drone testing. Just kidding btw.

  • steve March 22, 2015 (6:26 pm)

    It was marked “sheriff”

  • G March 22, 2015 (6:45 pm)

    WSB, true – even at night they are a constant presence. Takes some getting used to, if one ever does.

  • Halyn March 22, 2015 (7:19 pm)

    Definitely was not Guardian One–living as close to Roxhill Park and Westwood Village as I do, I know Guardian One’s rotor noise profile better than my mother’s voice! ;)

    It. Was. Loud. I was still sleeping and it woke me up–although in all fairness I was in that pre-awakening stage of sleep, not deeply asleep. I raised my head and said to my husband, “What the hell? Do you think it’s gonna land on our roof?” and he muttered back, “It’s not unlikely–I’ve never heard one so low.” I was a little bit afraid that it might be in some kind of distress and trying to get down. I’ve honestly never heard that much volume from a heli in the neighborhood. I’d be interested to know for sure what that was all about. I’m surprised there’s not some sort of regulation about minimum ceiling in a residential area.

    Also, “haaaa!!” to Heather. That made me chuckle.

    • WSB March 22, 2015 (9:41 pm)

      A source has just informed us that most likely it was Guardian 2, which, says the source, had business in Thurston County this morning and would have been heading back this way about then.

  • Elle Nell March 22, 2015 (11:25 pm)

    Ha! Just wait until the drones take flight.. Not sure they’ll be enough space here for all the “unusual” occurrence/curiosity comments… Good times!

  • Jim March 23, 2015 (9:17 am)

    Please call the SeaTac noise hotline, 433-5393, for incidents like this. They @ least register it & will give you a call back with identifying information if they can. Ditto for Boeing field (king County Int’l Airport)…I don’t have their #. Per FAA regulations, I believe minimum altitude for helicopters is 200′ over residential areas.

Sorry, comment time is over.