UPDATE: About that circling airplane

1:40 AM: Thanks for all the texts. We’re looking into the small plane that’s been circling various parts of the peninsula. Checking its trail on a flight tracker (Flightradar24), it’s been all over points from Olympia northward throughout the night, not just here.

(Screenshot from Flightradar24)

With its flight originating in Thurston County, and crosschecking the type of aircraft, it may well be State Patrol.

1:52 AM: As noted by a commenter, another flight tracker (Flight Aware) confirms that it’s a WSP plane. It’s headed back for Thurston County, too. … Checking WSB archives, we reported on almost exactly the same type of flight and aircraft Labor Day weekend last year, same time of the morning.

1:59 AM: A few commenters have mentioned officers at 45th/Juneau, and a phone caller says they’re State Patrol.

2:06 AM: That said, the Seaview incident has been described on emergency radio as a suicidal person … Meantime, looking further into our archives, we covered another State Patrol circling/looping situation in 2021, and learned later that it had to do with a stolen car.

25 Replies to "UPDATE: About that circling airplane"

  • Gatewood May 27, 2023 (1:42 am)

    FlightAware says it’s owned by Washington State Patrol 

  • patti May 27, 2023 (1:44 am)

    3 Police cars at 45th and Juneau

  • JCK May 27, 2023 (1:52 am)

    There also seems to be a big gathering of emergency vehicles somewhere around Juneau and 45th. I noticed it when I was hearing the airplane circling so I was wondering if it was related. 

  • Seaview Neighbor May 27, 2023 (1:55 am)

    Woke us up in Seaview. Heard police sirens as well. Weird that the plane followed highways all the way here…. Bit concerning. 

  • EJ May 27, 2023 (1:58 am)

    Saw a police car screaming down 35th (northbound) from Arbor Heights. Wonder if it’s related.

  • gary May 27, 2023 (2:25 am)

    At least 6 state patrol cars corner of 45th and Juneau @2 a.m. Saw one person handcuffed and put into a patrol car. Seattle police showed up too. They all just left the scene.

  • gary May 27, 2023 (2:30 am)

  • Drew May 27, 2023 (3:53 am)

    It was WSP. Low altitude (about 1400’) and very noisy. Hope it was doing something important. Followed by sirens, possibly unrelated, then by fireworks. That kind of night. 

  • Linda Thorson May 27, 2023 (3:54 am)

    I live south of the Alaska Junction and was awakened by a huge boom about 10 minutes ago. I called 911. Others must have heard it . Praying everyone is OK. This is so eerie.

    • Jen Vanderhoof May 27, 2023 (7:40 am)

      Glad you called 911, Linda. I thought it sounded like a gunshot right outside my house, but maybe it was an explosion of some sort.

    • Eddie May 27, 2023 (8:00 am)

      heard that boom too. West of the Alaska Junction.

    • WSMom May 27, 2023 (8:19 am)

      Yes, we heard that boom too! Came to the blog to see if anyone knew what it was. Woke us up immediately…sounded like some kind of explosion. 

      • BenC May 27, 2023 (11:39 am)

        The 3:45 AM boom sounded like a blown transformer…myself and another unit in my condo lost half our power.  It’s been reported to City Light and they’ve given an eta of 23:30 tonight to restore service.

      • Drew May 27, 2023 (11:53 am)

        The big boom was an aerial firework. Launched from approx Erskine & Hudson.  Thankfully there was only one. 

  • 22blades May 27, 2023 (5:19 am)

    It’s a Cessna 206 with Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) Camera attached to the bottom. It can sense heat in search & rescue, law enforcement searches or forest fire assessment. They use it for other uses as well… I don’t know how many they have but I)ve seen them all over the place.

  • LU May 27, 2023 (7:01 am)

    I thought they circled with helicopters. Why planes? Can’t afford a helicopter?

    • Rhonda May 27, 2023 (3:28 pm)

      Small piston-powered planes are far more fuel efficient and can cover ground faster.

  • Upper Gatewood resident May 27, 2023 (8:55 am)

    I also heard the plane at 1:30a but then there were two other planes that flew over our house at 4:30a. Thought it was strange to have so much plane activity in the early morning hours.

  • whattheheck May 27, 2023 (9:12 am)

    Any more info coming out about this? It must be something really significant if there were 6 patrol cars and a Cessna (that woke and kept up thousands of people in the middle of the night)…

  • Pdavis May 27, 2023 (10:15 am)

    Also, be aware that there are military flights… sometimes at night…. making sure we don’t have any foreign intrusion given the Ukraine invasion by Russia.  There is also military observations of the waterways and under the water as well to be sure we are alert and protected.  We all know that we are in an incredibly tense standoff between multiple countries due to Russia invading Ukraine..

    • Bee May 27, 2023 (9:52 pm)

      Hey thank you for this response, I was starting to believe I’ve been a bit paranoid with all of the fly-overs on Alki Point and Puget Sound lately. Security of these waters / waterfronts has definitely been ramped up over these past couple of months!

  • Gabriel May 27, 2023 (12:06 pm)

    The Cessna circling the area last night (as many have confirmed) to belong to WSP.It’s likely one of their “Smokey” units. I believe they have six or seven statewide with four dedicated to W. Wa.They routinely fly above 5K mainly along or just offset to many of the major freeways in  the area (regular speed checks and emphasis duties) and will “drop down” to help with perimeter surveillance, use of FLIR, etc.It’s a bit rare for WSP to use a “Smokey” unit like this but I’m assuming G1 wasn’t available and since the Cessna was likely already airborne, they could use their own aircraft to aid in their investigation. I’m assuming that’s what transpired.

  • randy May 27, 2023 (1:43 pm)

    It was rude and incessant until it flew to the south.

    • WSB May 27, 2023 (2:04 pm)

      Its flight ended where it began, in Thurston County.

Sorry, comment time is over.