The nature of mysterious flights which have kept many Kingston residents awake over the past few days has been partially revealed to be law enforcement activity.
Residents of Kingston’s central area have complained of a low-flying airplane circling their neighbourhood daily since early January. Sleep-deprived eyewitnesses say aircraft flights typically begin at dusk and continue virtually non-stop until the early morning hours.
The aircraft has been operating without the typical nighttime running lights, and has been very faintly visible as it circles the city. Only a faint red glow can be seen, consistent with the cockpit lights a pilot uses at night to preserve night vision. The aircraft is not visible on any online sites or applications which typically display information regarding aircraft in flight.
“It’s a large prop plane with no lights on…I am hearing it every 5 minutes fly over the house,” said Valerie Gray on January 13th, from her home in central Kingston.
Linda Empringham, also a resident of central Kingston, says she first noticed the aircraft on January 2nd, and believes the activity actually involves multiple aircraft. “There are 2 of them and it’s been going on over a week. Day and night. They are turbo prop, white in colour, with no markings.”
An inquiry to the City Of Kingston’s airport was redirected to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
“The RCMP’s primary concern is the safety and security of Canadians. We have multiple aircraft that support our mandate in Ontario and elsewhere in the country,” said the RCMP in an emailed response. “To maintain the integrity of our investigations and operations, the location of our aircraft is not disclosed. We therefore have no additional information to share with you at this time.”
The RCMP operates several aircraft types from 19 Air Sections throughout the country, in a variety of roles. Its fleet includes fixed wing aircraft such as DeHavilland DHC6-300 Twin Otters, Pilatus PC-12 single turboprops, and Kodiak 100 single turboprop floatplanes, as well as rotary wing aircraft such as EC120 and AS350B3 Eurocopters. Aircraft are used for surveillance, drug enforcement, coastal and border patrol, emergency response and crime scene investigation, as well as personnel and prisoner transfer throughout Canada. The RCMP declined to specify which of those roles the aircraft was involved in.