DPS Chopper Very Active Lately. What’s Been Going On In Amarillo?
It's a sound you hear and immediately start to wonder why it's out.
The sound of a low flying helicopter. It typically signals something is going on right?
Well, the DPS chopper has had some VERY active days lately, yet we haven't heard of anything big happening in town.
How do we know it's been so active? Well there's this pretty cool app called Flightradar24 that allows you to track any registered aircraft in the air. The DPS chopper has a tag of N405TX.
Yes, the chopper does get up in the air from time to time, but usually when it does go airborne, it goes directly to one place, checks it out then heads home. Here's a look at recent activity for the DPS chopper. They show UTC time, so the dates may not match up with what I say, but I'm accounting for the time conversion.
Here's a screenshot of the DPS chopper activity from November 3rd. As you can see, it took off around 12:30pm and went directly to one spot. It circled numerous times then back to its resting spot. It clearly had a specific mission.
After that flight, it didn't take to the air for 2 days. That tends to be the norm for it. Goes up one day for something specific, then stays parked for a period of time. Remember, the chopper only goes up when it absolutely HAS to.
Around 9:30pm on November 5th, it took off and headed due west. From there, you can see it continued to circle around a very specific area numerous times. It seems to me they were looking for something or someone. It stayed in the air circling the area for nearly 1 1/2 hours before finally parking itself at the airport.
About 40 minutes later, it lifted off again to head back to where it permanently parks...but not before hitting a certain spot in that same area once more. It appears to have circled around an area a few times before touching down.
After that flight, it stayed parked and unused for another 2 days. That's pretty normal practice, and like I said, when it DOES go up, it's usually to a specific spot for a specific reason.
That all changed on November 7th. At 10:07, the chopper took to the skies. It started going ALL OVER Amarillo. The main area of concentration seemed to hone in on the NE part of the city. After takeoff, it went directly to that area but then headed back east. After cruising around there for a bit, it shot back to that NE area of the city. It started to sit in a tight perimeter of the city and circle certain areas multiple times before touching back down an hour and a half after takeoff.
Slightly less than 24 hours later, the chopper hit the skies again November 8th around 9:40pm. It promptly took off to the same NE Amarillo spot it ended things at the night before. It cruised around there for a short time, then headed SW for a short bit. At about 10:35pm, it started working its way back to the NE Amarillo area again. This is where it gets interesting.
You start to notice a couple areas they circled multiple times before heading a bit further north. At 10:42pm, they get themselves a fair amount north of the airport. It was this location where you see a big circle that looks like they went around multiple times. Initially they circled it 2-3 times then shot down southwest a bit towards the airport. 5 minutes later, they raced back to the NE part of the city.
They went back to the spot they circled 2-3 times before they moved and proceeded to circle the area again...9 more times to be exact. After that, it headed back home and touched down an hour and a half after lifting off.
With all this activity from the chopper the last couple of days, you'd think we would've heard about something big right? Again, it's not often it takes off and even rarer for it to stay in the air that long. It clearly found something or got a tip about an area in order to circle it a total of 11-12 times. The question is, what was it? I'm excited to see if it takes off again and heads to that same area. Might be time to turn those police scanners on.