Hopefully, the U.S. military hasn’t finally decided it’s had it with San Francisco.

Pave Hawk helicopter (U.S. Air Force)

Our newsroom got a call about 15 minutes ago reporting that military helicopters were flying “really close” to the Bay Bridge. Our own reporter, Stephanie Martin, confirms the sighting: She says she saw four or five flying north in formation as she was driving on Cesar Chavez.

Update 11:50 a.m.

Captain Donny LeBlanc from Moffett Field tells KQED’s Katrina Schwartz that the  helicopters are part of a training mission from the 129th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard. The helicopters are actually Pave Hawks, not Black Hawks, as some have speculated. The two types look almost identical, he said. The flight was to “familiarize ourselves with the local geography” since the Air National Guard is charged with rescue missions in the area.

Captain LeBlanc said the helicopters took off from and looped back around to Moffett. He didn’t know how close they got to the bridge, but said he’d look into it.

More sightings from earlier today on Twitter:




Looks like they came from the south…


Update 9:45 a.m.

Here’s a tweet from someone based in Mendocino, leading to the speculation that the military may be involved in either marijuana crop eradication or antiquing…

Update 9:55 a.m. A photo! “Alongside Highway 101″…

What’s The Deal With Those Military Helicopters Flying Over the Bay Area? 13 June,2012Jon Brooks

  • Gina

    Me too, heard the noise then the army helicopters flew by almost right next to my windows.  I live only on 12th floor.  Is it legal for them to fly that low and close to the residential buildings? 

  • Guest

    About 11:10 above Richardson Bay, Sausalito – 3 huge military planes in V formation with helicopters in between them, headed toward SF

  • Hyla

    Four planes and five helicopters. Saw them from my house in Tiburon. Why did the military not mention the planes as well?

  • Ellen Byrne

    Saw them over Lo Gatos @ 11:50 with three planes. Just as radio talk went to Struan conflict. Glad it’s a training exercise only.

  • Chrystal Aulson

    About 3 planes and 6 or more helicopters flew by about 20 minutes ago in San Jose.  The planes seemed to have some kind of measuring device attached to it (very small parachute) and what’s on the noses of the helicopters?  Are those measuring devices as well?  And what would they be measuring?  

    • Those are refueling booms. They occasionally fly several hundred miles out to sea to perform rescues far beyond the range of the Coast Guard. The helicopters are refueled by C-130s.

      Watch “The Perfect Storm” with George Clooney to see how it works.

  • Lizs52

    Saw the same thing as Crystal ,flying over Los Gatos

  • haha

  • strangerdanger

    must be the russians.

  • Cvilly

    That’s my photo! @cvilly

  • MercyCat

    They’re flying low over west oakland right now, near the water. I can hear it in my basement apartment even. It is most unnerving…

  • justsouknow

    Here in Riverbank, CA-Central Valley of California, at least 4 BIG military helicopters with 2 big propellers flying from it looked like the Bay Area heading towards Southern California. Within the last hour they have been flying.  It shakes the house and sounds scary.  What is going on?  The US must be getting ready to go after Syria.

  • Lisa Proud USAF Mom

    I am damn proud of my boy, and all the others who were out there that day!  For those of you complaining, please stop.  These Airmen are out there doing these practice maneuvers in order to save lives….maybe one day you’ll find that they’ve jumped straight into a dangerous situation to save someone you know and love.   Read the papers, they’ve saved a number of people in just the last two months…all between SF & Monterey. 

    So if you find yourself in the position of seeing these brave men and women flying low overhead, try giving them a wave instead of calling the news stations and authorities.  Thanks all! 

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