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Mysterious aircraft puzzles Quincy, Mass. residents

Published On: May 10 2013 07:56:41 AM HST

Mysterious aircraft puzzles residents

QUINCY, Mass. -

The Federal Aviation Administration knows what’s up there but it’s not telling the public.


A slew of Quincy residents have been complaining and calling police and the city about an aircraft that appeared about two weeks ago and has been taking wide, repeated loops in the air, between about 7 p.m. and 4 a.m., the Patriot Ledger reported.

Residents from Wollaston to West Quincy describe a low-pitch humming sound coming from the aircraft. Some have said it’s reminiscent of a drone, which is an unmanned aircraft operated by remote control.

“It’s not a drone,” FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. “It’s an authorized flight and we are aware of it.”

Peters declined to make any further comment.

The FAA first allowed the use of unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace in 1990. It continues to allow limited use for firefighting, rescue, law enforcement and military testing, the FAA’s website says. Interest in the use of drones is growing.

Quincy Police Capt. John Dougan said police are aware of the aircraft and “it’s nothing to be concerned about.”

Ward 4 City Councilor Brian Palmucci thinks residents are entitled to know more about the aircraft’s purpose, particularly following the intense police operations following the Boston marathon bombings.

“People are on edge,” he said. “Law enforcement is always very vocal about how one of the best resources they have in combating crime is the vigilance of the public. And that’s clearly what’s happening here, the public being vigilant ... Getting no information as to what the purpose of these flights are only raises the concern in an already hyper-vigilant situation.”

Palmucci said he contacted the FAA, officials, and police seeking answers to his constituents’ questions, but did not get answers.

Centre Street resident Greg Zacchine wrote Palmucci to ask about the aircraft.

“It is flying at night and day constantly,” he wrote. “I am curious about its purpose and who is spending so much time and resources flying around in endless circles. This plane makes a low pitch humming sound that’s somewhat of a distraction while outdoors.”

Wollaston residents Paul O’Malley and John Barnett also complained of the buzz coming from the aircraft.

“It makes it hard to get back to sleep,” O’Malley said.

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