Questions about why a military-style helicopter landed briefly in downtown Dallas Tuesday remain unanswered. The flight occurred around 7 p.m. and was captured on camera by TheBlaze. The helicopter, which resembled a Blackhawk or an Apache, landed at a heliport atop a parking garage. It stayed for about three to five minutes before taking off again.
Video shows the aircraft taking off:
The landing and take-off occured just a half-mile from Dallas Police Department headquarters. Maj. Max Geron, who oversees media relations for the police department, told TheBlaze he had no information about the helicopter or the flight. A call to the FAA was not immediately returned.
The heliport where the helicopter landed is just feet from the Dallas Convention Center and sits atop a parking garage. According to records, a private heliport that used to be owned by the Belo Broadcasting Corporation is in the immediate area. Bello was purchased by media giant Gannett in December 2013. Gannett representative Jeremy Gaines, however, told TheBlaze in an email that the company “doesn’t have a heliport in Dallas.”*
There is a military air base in the area, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, but a spokesman who answered the phone there said he had no information on the flight or the aircraft.
Military-style helicopters flying in urban American environments have taken place with some frequency of late. Just last month, residents in Minneapolis were surprised to see Blackhawks and Hughes 500 choppers buzzing through the downtown area. The flights were part of training exercises for the Department of Defense, but residents were upset that no one was notified until after the flights occurred. That wasn’t the first time it happened — the same thing occurred in 2012.
UPDATE 1 p.m. ET:
The public-use, elevated Vertiport is located on the south end of the facility. A dual deck and can accommodate three helicopters plus two vertical-take-off and landing aircraft at the same time. It features approximately 169,000 square feet of flight deck, a dedicated automobile parking lot, full service lobby including conference room, and waiting area for pilots. Both rotor aircraft and tilt-rotor aircraft, such as the Osprey V-22, can be accommodated at the Vertiport.
“The Vertiport is open seven days a week from 7:00am until 10:00pm CST,” it continues. “Prior flight arrangements are not necessary as the facility is staffed, and monitored by unicom frequency 123.05 MHZ.”
A call to the office that manages the facility seeking more information on the flight and its purpose was not immediately returned.
Several readers have emailed saying that while they did not see this particular flight, they saw similar aircraft in the same area yesterday and earlier this week.
This story has been updated to reflect that the heliport where the chopper was seen landing was not the old Bello heliport. In fact, it appears it was the the Dallas CBD Vertiport.