UPDATE: Military helicopters over West Seattle – and they’ll be back

(Reader photo via email from MD)

9:34 AM: Thanks for all the tips/questions/photos of military helicopters that have made a few passes. These kind of helicopters don’t usually show on trackers but we’re checking around. So far we’ve reached somebody at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, who says it’s not theirs. … As for a Seahawks flyover, that game isn’t until 1 pm.

(Added: Reader photo from Gene Pavola)

Image search says the helicopters are Boeing AH-64 Apaches.

(Added: Reader video from Brandy DeWeese)
10:14 AM: Thanks to the commenter with the tip. The Boeing Field operations hotline confirmed to us it’s practice for a Seahawks flyover later and that they are Army helicopters but not from JBLM.

11:11 AM: None other than the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade just replied to us and tweeted directly that the helicopters ARE from JBLM – two BlackHawks and two Apaches – and were indeed practicing for the game flyover. “They flew up from (JBLM) this morning to work on their timing.” (If you follow the link to the tweet, you’ll see video of what it looked like from the field.) So again, that means you’ll likely see/hear them again before the 1 pm kickoff.

ADDED 2:35 PM: And indeed, they returned. Jessica got a closeup look south of Fairmount Park:

Lumen Field tweeted a photo of the view from there.

92 Replies to "UPDATE: Military helicopters over West Seattle - and they'll be back"

  • Christina November 27, 2022 (9:39 am)

    The helicopter flew over my house and shook it. On one pass, I swear I could hear the rotors. I’m in Puget Ridge. 

    • Puget Ridge November 27, 2022 (9:49 am)

      Also in Puget Ridge where they flew over and thought the same. Slow moving, metallic rotor sounds. Super loud. Shook everything. Thought we were waking up to Red Dawn or Independence Day. Alas, no aliens…

    • Wsmom November 27, 2022 (10:09 am)

      Same here, just south of fairmont elementary 

    • Matt Gilblezy November 27, 2022 (10:59 am)

      That is the sweet sound of freedom! 

      • BAH! November 27, 2022 (11:33 am)

        You mean football. 

        • 😛 November 27, 2022 (12:34 pm)

          Same thing.  

          • Rob November 27, 2022 (1:12 pm)

            It’s dumb that our tax dollars are spent on this sort of thing 

        • Demi November 27, 2022 (1:13 pm)

          WTF.  The price of gas wasted for….sports!

          • Matt Gilblezy November 27, 2022 (3:44 pm)

            They have to get flying hours in to be certified.  Killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

          • Neighbor November 28, 2022 (8:40 am)

            Event flyovers are actually really good training because it requires coordinating a precise time on target among multiple aircraft.  This is work they would have done anyway.  The US military is the most successful jobs program in human history.  Your perception of it is a choice.  Instead of complaining about the price tag (with no regard for the benefits) you could instead take the opportunity to appreciate the skill and dedication of the young men and women that make this possible.

          • maylor November 28, 2022 (9:25 am)

            Well said Matt & Neighbor. Really clean precision flying to keep their formation. They did at least 4 flyovers right over Gatewood Hill – 40th & Holly.

  • Terminal Lance November 27, 2022 (9:41 am)

    I saw the trio of them going at a leisurely pace over admiral as I left PCC. Didn’t get a good look at the lead craft but the rearward helicopter looked like it was a AH-64 Apache.

    • WSB November 27, 2022 (9:45 am)

      I’m adding some of the visuals folks have sent so any helicopter experts welcome while we look around for someone else to ask since JBLM said they don’t have anyone up.

    • Ly November 27, 2022 (9:54 am)

      Unrelated to choppers, I love the terminal lance comic so much. :D

      • Green Weenie November 27, 2022 (12:11 pm)


  • Jennifer Hall November 27, 2022 (9:44 am)

    How about Whidbey Island naval airbase?

  • T. Snad November 27, 2022 (9:45 am)

    We have observed several very low passes over Alki of 4 US Army helicopters this morning.  Two Blackhawks and two Apache helicopters. Very cool to see being former Army myself! I am guessing they are practicing for a fly over of the hawks game today.

    • Denana November 27, 2022 (9:55 am)

      Sooo b4 them I swear I saw Coastguard helicopter over by Fauntleroy ferry area. But ya 4 helicopters flew over LOW 3 times this morning. The game is this afternoon.  They didn’t “practice” b4. Before fly bys for games. 

    • T November 27, 2022 (4:05 pm)

      Yes it was. How I know this is my brother was flying the rear Apache. Practicing for flyover at Seattle Seahawks game. Army sister proud!! Go Seahawks!!P.s. for you that want to complain about this. These military people fight for our country and don’t get to do a whole lot of fun stuff when it comes to the military so this is to honor them …and the military showing support for the game!!! Should be happy and proud . This was a once in a lifetime for each pilot. So with the negative comments… Shut it down. Misery loves company so try to take a hot at anyone you can. Get over it. They are fighting for you!!! I’m glad they get the opportunity to do something like this . You have no idea what they been thru. You ungrateful people get under my skin… Grow up n be happy…not enough room on earth for these negative comments… And negative people…might as well be negative Nancy. So much hate . This is part of what’s wrong with the world today. 

      • jeff November 27, 2022 (8:16 pm)

        Tell your brother thank you for his service. Appreciate him and his other comrades. 

      • Rhonda November 27, 2022 (9:48 pm)

        Thank you, T Saldana. You said everything I wanted to say and your brother rocks! He’s a real hero, not the phony kind in popular culture and pro sports.

  • Pugetridge neighbor November 27, 2022 (9:46 am)

    I think there were 3 different fleets. 1st had about 4 helicopters, one with a medic-like symbol.  The 2nd fleet looked more narrow and smaller (about 3 copters), 3rd fleet could have been the 1st making 2nd round but they flew much lower and shook the house. 

  • M November 27, 2022 (9:47 am)

    Very loud. They flew over my house and they were flying very low.

  • Halley November 27, 2022 (9:48 am)

    Out of every week day it had to be a sunday morning! It shook the house feeling as if it was landing on top of our roof😡. 

  • Lis November 27, 2022 (9:49 am)

    They’re practicing for the flyover per Boeing Tower 

    • WSB November 27, 2022 (10:13 am)

      Thanks, checking.

  • Andrew November 27, 2022 (9:51 am)

    That is super triggering.  They flew right over our home in High Point. I can’t imagine people who’ve been in combat or refugees of war experiences, especially without notice.  Pray for those who were enjoying a peaceful Sunday morning, and now are possibly in a traumatic episode.  Thank you. 

    • Brian November 27, 2022 (12:47 pm)

      I can’t tell for sure if that’s what is going on here but you don’t need to reflexively get offended for other people as some kind of internet performance. 

      • wscommuter November 27, 2022 (3:50 pm)

        @ Brian, for the win.  

      • Herongrrrl November 27, 2022 (5:59 pm)

        Huh. Interesting perspective on what other people might call concern and compassion, Brian. One of my neighbors is an army vet with PTSD, and yeah, something like this happening unexpectedly can legit throw his whole day in a bad way. No “internet performance” there.

      • Bunnyfer November 28, 2022 (5:47 am)

        Brian, PTSD is real, and does get triggered by this kind of stuff. When my husband’s sister was born at home, their family lived just outside the city so they brought in a chopper to get mom and baby to the hospital. Unfortunately it triggered the Vietnam vet next door, who began hiding in the bushes and screaming at neighbors. Thankfully, my husband’s grandfather (who was watching 2-yr old “hubby”) was also a vet, and calmed him down, which is how on the day of my sister-in-law’s birth their neighbor ended up asleep in his underwear on their living room couch. 

      • Karen November 28, 2022 (1:52 pm)

        I agree with Brian. People with PTSD can speak for themselves, especially war veterans. If they feel uncomfortable doing so, they can ask a friend or family member to do so. Random speculation about what they’re probably thinking or feeling is disrespectful to their strength, and robs them of agency.

  • AdmiralDude November 27, 2022 (9:51 am)

    Heard them above North Admiral and pulled up this flight path on tracker at 9:40am. 

  • Laura M. Tyler November 27, 2022 (9:52 am)

  • Ann November 27, 2022 (9:52 am)

    At least 6 (!!!) passes directly over our house – shaking everything and completely freaked out our cats. 

  • Kyle November 27, 2022 (9:56 am)

    Flew low right over my house at 48th and Admiral just 15 minutes ago or so! Very cool to see up close.

  • Morgan Junction Friend November 27, 2022 (9:57 am)

    They are: 2x UH-60 Black Hawk and 2x AH-64 Apache. https://aerocorner.com/blog/types-of-military-helicopters/

  • Aaron November 27, 2022 (10:03 am)

    Just off Delridge had 3 flyovers super low (like read the print on the bottom low) headed roughly east for all three passes. Tight diamond formation. Lotsa hardware showing…

  • Flivver November 27, 2022 (10:08 am)

    Military aircraft are exempt from FAA rules as far as altitude over residential and commercial buildings.  They’re also exempt from noise rules.

    • Morgan November 27, 2022 (10:27 am)

      Why not practice over the water or woods or anywhere other than residential neighborhoods at low altitude on Sunday morning? Agree with red dawn comment…

      • SpencerGT November 28, 2022 (11:05 am)

        Makes sense.

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul November 27, 2022 (10:09 am)

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/MGrUa3Y5gM7dNTuo9Look like that other link is broken 

  • Patience November 27, 2022 (10:19 am)

    Four fly-bys of four helo’s in tight formation over Puget Park – last one at 9:39am.  Very low, loud, and cool!!!

  • Patience November 27, 2022 (10:19 am)

    Low, loud, and cool! Four fly-bys of four helo’s in tight formation over Puget Park.

  • Scarlett November 27, 2022 (10:30 am)

    Nothing like blessing a game played by millionaires with a military flyover.  This country will never know true democracy until the military industrial complex is reined in and we depart some of the 750 military bases we have around the world.   

    • Gay November 27, 2022 (12:01 pm)

      It’s kind of sick, isn’t it.  I totally agree, Scarlett.  Today’s flyover equates to a brand new elementary school for poverty stricken locations around this great ountry of ours.

    • Moles November 27, 2022 (1:22 pm)

      Yah – Ukraine would be so much better off if the US and European military industrial complex didn’t exist

    • Al King November 27, 2022 (1:26 pm)

      Scarlett. Eagerly awaiting your initiative petition to defund the military and police. Please share your better answer-that will actually work in the real world.

    • Melissa November 27, 2022 (1:49 pm)

      I agree with you, Scarlett. I freaking hate the sound and the symbolism. I’m sure it’s not great for folks with military-based PTSD. And, of course, many pets are afraid of it. It’s probably pretty terrible for our endangered orcas, as well. 

    • Paul November 27, 2022 (5:25 pm)

      I work at Lumen Field and it was a salute to Military today.  So for everyone who had their morning interrupted, relax. We honored our service men and women.  

    • John, Retired Army November 27, 2022 (9:08 pm)

      Enjoy FREEDOM??

    • No True Scarlett November 28, 2022 (8:49 am)

      What if, and bear with me here, this is actually the military of a democracy and you just don’t like the results?  That’s one if the notorious features (or if you are a fascist, flaws) in democratic systems.  No one person gets everything they want.  Needs of the many and all that.

      • Scarlett November 28, 2022 (5:52 pm)

        That’s my whole point, we live in a democracy in name only.  Unless you think the diluted, regurgitated war propaganda that people are spoon fed constitutes being “informed.”  Or the revolving door between the boards of arms manufacturers and the Pentagon. Unless you think the founders would be pleased as punch with the NSA, the FBI surveilling Americans, the CIA abroad, and their habit of infiltrating activists with informants.   If people had all the information at their disposal and still wanted us to be the enforcer in the world, then so be it.  Though I would continue to voice my strong opposition. 

  • MhTrip November 27, 2022 (10:34 am)

    I think everyone needs to toughen up a bit and relax.  Enjoy the air show and be grateful.

    • WestSeattleBadTakes November 27, 2022 (11:00 am)

      Yes, so much toughness you are displaying by accepting this. What could be easier than looking up and accepting these displays? I wonder what it would be like to roll over and accept everything.

      To even suggest that it isn’t tough to challenge this displays your lack of critical thinking. But we knew that already.

      • Not Today November 27, 2022 (11:32 am)

        It must be exhausting always looking for something to be mad about. 

        • Derek November 27, 2022 (1:32 pm)

          Not as exhausting as it is to just accept everything corporations and government force on you with no resistance!

          • Flivver November 27, 2022 (4:40 pm)

            Derek. Even more exhausting is someone who feels it’s their duty to simply be a contrarian. 

          • MyThruppence November 27, 2022 (7:05 pm)

            Oh for the love of God….they were over a well-used flight path that hosts airliners, small aircraft, and helicopters of varying decibel all dang day, everyday. Some of y’all just has chips on your shoulder for some reason or another, about something or another. That’s fine, but it really isn’t nearly as big of a deal as some of you make it out to be. Then, when this is pointed out, you feign astonishment and outrage that someone else may not be as hyperbolic as you think they should be. There are hundreds of millions of acres of land in this country that experience near-zero aircraft noise. The more you know.

    • Kersti Elisabeth Muul November 27, 2022 (11:25 am)

      Grateful for what exactly?

      • The King November 27, 2022 (1:00 pm)

        You have asked one of those questions that lets everyone know to not even try and explain it. Have a good day, enjoy your freedom 

      • wscommuter November 28, 2022 (10:33 am)

        Grateful for the sacrifices made every day by our service members.  My son among them.  He jumps out of those Blackhawks that you’re so upset about.  I’m proud as hell of my son and his colleagues, just as much as I live with the worry about the places he gets sent to.  So we take a little time each year to remember and thank our service people.  That – exactly – is what I’m grateful for.  Have I answered your question?

  • Oakley34 November 27, 2022 (10:43 am)

    Hate them.

  • WestSeattleBadTakes November 27, 2022 (10:57 am)

    Every time these aircraft flyover ours homes citizens are put at risk. Military exercises are one thing, but for a football game? Around the world military aircraft crash monthly. 

    The fact that some many are willing to tolerate these displays because they are “cool” or “represent freedom” is detestable.


    • Al King November 27, 2022 (1:22 pm)

      WSBT. How about commercial and private planes? I take it you find them “detestable” as they can and do crash (and make noise).

    • Flivver November 27, 2022 (4:34 pm)

      WSBT. Correct in assuming you’re against all those “detestable” commercial and private planes and helicopters since they crash too?

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul November 27, 2022 (11:04 am)

    https://youtu.be/Ql3mWTJ7mBIBirds were not liking it. Gulls and crows vacating the area

  • WSB November 27, 2022 (11:15 am)

    Just added another update. The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade from JBLM is on Twitter and directly confirmed the helicopters were theirs and were working on “timing” for the later flyover.

  • Tony November 27, 2022 (12:04 pm)

    From Delridge

  • PNW organic love November 27, 2022 (12:07 pm)

    Unbelievably dangerous. The wind from the chopper blades blew my new organic hemp beanie right off my head. My pet guinea pig is also severely epileptic and the loud thumping sent him into a fit of seizures. My Sunday has been ruined now with an emergency trip to his acupuncturist. 

  • alkiannie November 27, 2022 (12:49 pm)


  • Ann November 27, 2022 (12:56 pm)

    Unlike some birds, these Cormorants were unphased by the whirleybirds overhead

  • K in WS November 27, 2022 (12:57 pm)

    They flew so low over my house, the windows rattled. They were only a couple hundred feet up. It was awesome!

  • Pete November 27, 2022 (1:05 pm)

    Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of my taxes being p’ssed up the wall. 

  • Jessica November 27, 2022 (1:08 pm)

    12:55pm from south of Fairmount Park, on Graham.  They buzzed us!

  • Technically November 27, 2022 (1:10 pm)

    JBLM: “They didn’t come from here.”

    Also JBLM: “We didn’t say they’re not ours.”

  • Zip November 27, 2022 (1:35 pm)

    No reason to practice for 4 hours to fly over the football game. Gas and people are too expensive for that. I am at Lincoln Park and the helicopters circled it 4 times and ended just il after 1 pm just recently.

  • uncle loco November 27, 2022 (1:43 pm)

    When I saw the choppers fly over today I knew the WSB would on it and do a write up. Also knew there would be a few complaints in the comment section. Like clockwork.

    • Linda Kustok November 27, 2022 (2:47 pm)

      The helicopters were very close to our house in North Admiral! Our dogs got very scared, anyone I can notify about this??  Thank you!

      • WSB November 27, 2022 (3:02 pm)

        Perhaps you could ask the Seahawks to request that flyovers not approach over residential areas.

  • Dean Fuller November 27, 2022 (2:02 pm)

    Seattle is within minutes flying time of at least 4 separate military airfields, and people still find reason for pause when they see military aircraft?  Also thumbs-down for portrait orientation video.

  • Gatewood November 27, 2022 (3:30 pm)

    Loved every single fly by!  Thank you for making my day.  

  • anonyme November 27, 2022 (3:36 pm)

    As if the fireworks weren’t bad enough, do we need more noise in the form of gas-spewing military machinery wrecking a nice quiet Sunday morning?  I don’t pay taxes to have the military used as entertainment – that isn’t in the least bit entertaining. Give it a freaking rest.

  • Rhonda November 27, 2022 (3:39 pm)

    That was a real treat to see. Our family has so much respect for our men and women who fly those versatile birds to protect us. Thank you, U.S. Army and Seahawks 🇺🇸 

    • Scarlett November 28, 2022 (4:06 pm)

      How was the Iraq War defending America?  How was the Vietnam War protecting freedom?  How was Afghanistan defending our shores?  And on and on and on. We have a problem with the military industrial complex exerting undue influence on our democracy and they rarely go to defending this country.   This should not exactly be a newsflash to anyone.   

  • Mike November 27, 2022 (4:40 pm)

    40-34? Now that’s copter karma–I love it!

  • Hungry Pilgrim November 27, 2022 (4:52 pm)

    With Thanksgiving upon us, we should be thankful for our government and the liberties our country affords us.  From free Covid shots to protection from enemies of all types –  thank you to all those who serve to protect our freedom!  Anyone see the wild West Seattle turkey these days?  Or did he/she/they get served up for a needy family’s meal?

  • Gay November 27, 2022 (7:15 pm)

    Stop the flyovers and promote peace…..and quiet.  Please.

  • Del November 28, 2022 (9:57 am)

    Ugh… 👎 

  • DRW November 28, 2022 (11:55 am)

    I’d much rather see our helicopters flying over than any other countrys. Drumroll please………….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGvW6jHUHiY

  • Agape November 28, 2022 (2:04 pm)

    Okay, so yesterday was for the Seahawks match.What was the reason for the pair that just flew over Delridge a few minutes ago?

  • Maria November 28, 2022 (11:33 pm)

    Sunday before lunch I was doing some cyber shopping, felt the whump whump whump approaching, looked out the window and saw four choppers in formation.  Don’t get to see that very often.  Smiled, noticed they weren’t Coast Guard, and then thought, yeah must be prepping for Seahawks flyover.  Then went on with my day and enjoyed their return flight even.  Thanks for the confirmation, and these comments as always make me understand why elections are often won be just a few percentages either way :)

Sorry, comment time is over.