Santa Fe isn't Fantasy Island, but the drone of a military aircraft circling the city for more than an hour Tuesday evening left many in town asking about "The plane, the plane."
The plane, a U.S. Air Force C-130H Hercules, prompted a variety of calls of concern and curiosity Tuesday — much as another plane did late last week when it buzzed over the city in the middle of the day.
Calls to Air Force installations Tuesday did not reveal much about why the plane was in the area.
Officials at Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base, which recently was selected to host the AC-130J Ghostrider training unit, said Wednesday the plane did not take off from there.
"It's none of our folks," said Kirtland spokeswoman Eva Blaylock, who added base personnel have received several calls about the mystery plane.
New Mexico has two other Air Force bases, including Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis and Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo.
Several people used FlightRadar24.com to identify the plane as a C-130. According to the website's software, the plane circled Santa Fe several times before skirting the Sangre de Cristos and heading back to Cannon.
A Cannon spokesman said a team was looking into whether a C-130 took off from the base Tuesday and, if so, what was purpose of the flight and why it went to Santa Fe.
Many complained in online community forums such as Santa Fe Bulletin Board and Nextdoor about a low-flying military aircraft that was possibly doing a training flight.
The C-130, which has several variants, is a four-engine turboprop aircraft that first flew in 1956. Its airframe and technology have been updated several times through the years, and it serves a variety of roles in both peacetime and combat.