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 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.

(15) comments

Kathleen Dexter

Quiet your whining!

Emily Hartigan

Still no explanation?

You don't need to disrupt an entire city in order to "train" --- lots of open area, including mountains and desert.

Mike Johnson

The best configuration of the AC-130A was the "Spectre" version used in Vietnam. Everyone (at least the American soldiers) loved to see it circling and when it made its 30 degree bank, you knew you were going to be OK....

Khal Spencer

Think it was looking for a place to drop off a BLU-82?

Mike Johnson

[beam] Or a MOAB.......

Augustin de la Sierra

New Mexcian: Thank you for reporting on this. After a near all-nighter the previous night doing volunteer work, I was in bed early Tuesday evening. But because of the racket, I was unable to sleep. I called the non-emergency police number, but they were tied up with emergency calls.

I am not happy with the Air Force and their not owning their problems. Jerks. And on my tax dollar.

Pamela Porter

Our U.S. Senators and Representative should be able to get an answer as to why our quiet little city is occasionally harassed, and get the military to stop it. We should all call them. This buzzing of our town happened for several days sometime within the last 5 or 10 years and I spent time finally getting to the head of our local airport. He informed me, nicely, that it was outside of their jurisdiction and that I needed to call all of the regional air bases myself. (As if they would respond to an unknown civilian.) My suggestion - let's all call our congress persons.

Lynn k Allen

Me too ! I live 35 miles south of SF and also have military planes often disturbing our quite skies. Some are so loud I rush outside to see if there was a crash.

Not a good way to payback us taxpayers for funding your toys.

PLEASE Train where your noise doesn't bother residents & taxpayers you are protecting.

Ann Maes

But why over residential areas, why so low, we have enough noise pollution already!

Augustin de la Sierra

I agree.

Pete Prince

I watched the repeating pattern of circles with a level of interest that only a multi-engine prop plane can invoke and concluded that it was aloft because someone needed some seat time to maintain their certification.

Michael Marvier

This is nothing new it's been ongoing for several years. Just why the Air Force denies knowledge of these flights is a mystery. I think our city officials should look into this annoying matter and tell the Air Force to buzz off.

Barbara Harrelson

I have often heard--as recently as last evening or Tuesday(?)--what sounds like several large aircraft passing over Santa Fe. And I have wondered where they come from and where they are going?? Agree that city should look into this and demand real answers.

Robert Fields

If you are ever curious about an aircraft, and both have live flight tracking. Some flights are blacked out by owner request or other reasons on flightaware, but adsbexchange does not honor blackouts and shows everything they see. Depending on coverage you can watch aircraft from power up to shutdown but in some areas there is no tracking due to a lack of receiving stations. And anyone can set up a receiving station. See the how-to at

C-130s will generally be visible on

Khal Spencer

Cannon doesn't know why its own plane is circling over Santa Fe? Or doesn't want to say?

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