Low-flying choppers are ‘conducting surveillance projects’

Posted at 12:48 AM, May 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-21 02:11:04-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Helicopter blades are still piercing the air and rattling the nerves of one Chesterfield woman.

“It was green, no words on it from what I could see, no special symbols, but, what looked like two guns on the front,” says Mekelle Ford. She continues to see what appear to be military choppers, flying low throughout the day and night.

However, the military wouldn’t go on record about its recent activity or even take responsibility for the flights.

Hundreds of Central Virginians continuously contact the station via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and phone; inquiring about loud aircraft flying so close to their homes at all hours of the day and night. So we dug deeper to find out why there has been an uptick. [WATCH: Part One of Lorenzo Hall's investigation.]

CBS 6 acquired recent flight logs from Richmond International Airport, which document a nearly 30 percent increase in military air activity in that air space alone, so far this year.

We also found, this is not just happening in Central Virginia.

In Miami for instance, military choppers were seen and heard hovering for days. The same in Los Angeles, with people assuming there was an elaborate military training exercise underway.

Also, in Indiana, after seeing military choppers frequently flying, one had to make an emergency landing. It was only then that people found out the military was searching for marijuana plants.

Choppers and planes were seen circling the city of Quincy, near Boston, for two weeks, but the FAA won’t tell anyone why they’re around, not even the mayor.

Back in Central Virginia, the same, low flying chopper activity is occurring a few miles west in Charlottesville. That’s where we spoke with John Whitehead, President of the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization. Articles by Whitehead have been printed in the New York TimesLos Angeles Times, theWashington Post and USA Today, among others.

“A government that does not respond to its citizens is an unaccountable government, it’s a non-constitutional government,” says Whitehead.

In his soon to be released book,” A Government of Wolves,” Whitehead addresses the issue of low flying choppers and their burgeoning presence.

“A leader among police said, 'John, things are getting spooky,'” Whitehead tells us.

Whitehead says, according to his sources, it’s not just training but says military and police are now working together on more surveillance projects here at home, especially with increasing threats and incidents like the Boston Marathon bombings.

Whitehead says, these are signs of a developing military state.

“The police talk in military language and actually, the military is training some of the SWAT teams in this country. So, you’re seeing a whole new thing happen. Training exercises overhead. On the ground, you have the SWAT team. Things are changing,” says Whitehead.

He believes some government movement should remain classified, but says, with so many concerns about low flying choppers, the government should offer up more details and you should ask more questions.

“Just taking it, because it happens to be the military or taking their word for it. People lie. I’m sorry,” says Whitehead.

However, Ford says, she prefers that military activity remain confidential, fearing too much public information could jeopardize her safety.

“I consider it a good thing. I’d rather us be prepared and knowing that our military and government are concerned about our safety, not only in the city and DC, but, right here in Chesterfield, where it’s just little ‘ole me,” says Ford.

The FAA urges anyone who is suspicious of air activity above their home to contact them here: