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Annoying Belconnen Helicopter ?

By 20 May 2012 212

Does anybody know why there has been a helecopter circling the Belconnen/Northside area for the past few hours?

It is about 1:30 am and the noise has left me awake pondering if there is a legitimate or even necessary reason for its flight path. This has been a regular occurrence for the past 4 or so nights.

It does not sound like a military chopper (although I may be mistaken), and I an pretty sure it is not the SouthCare chopper either.


ED – Dot3 also sent in this post:

So what is it for????

….. it’s callsign is FEDPOL 21


UPDATE 21/05/12 10:50: eq2 has sent in this info:

flight paths

The circles around Belconnen were flown at around 1am.
Flight altitude was sustained at 4700ft for both flights.
Flights like these have not occurred on previous Saturdays.

data source: http://webtrak.bksv.com/cbr

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212 Responses to
Annoying Belconnen Helicopter ?
troutfisher 10:31 pm
20 May 12
#31

Has anyone had the thought that in fact they may well be doing a number of things given the flight path. Just as a patrol car will move about from job to job the flying patrol car is able to:

- check out incidents from the air, dismissing the need to tie up additional resources

-provide additional patrol support and officer security, even assisting in tracking people in the dark and catching those pesky “criminals” (ranging from people stealing on job sites to groups of kids causing issues in possibly YOUR street) that everyone complains about

- search for missing people and for an example being able to check open drains and dark reserves, saving hours for offiers on the ground.

- assisting in following suspicious, even stolen cars without the need to have patrol cars becoming involved until the car has stopped. It always fascinates me to read about idiots complaining about police causing potential accidents by chasing people, but then complain if there is an alternative and it causes them some mild disturbance.

I would almost bet the people on here complaining about the noise are the same people who complain about roads being shut off when there is an accident (“But I always go home this way”) or that the cops don’t do anything about the criminal damage in their local park or some other issue that they are affected by. I wonder if the helicopter was able to track some scrote coming out of theer house with some item they considered very special, would the noise be an issue.

As for the suggestion about setting up sensors to turn off at the sound of rotor blades, I’m sure Southcare would become a real pain in the date, not even taking into account that the sensor would need to be able to see into the future for a few hours to let the heat escape.

basketofcat 10:57 pm
20 May 12
#32

The flightaware site shows that there’s a raaf 737 coming in from Indonesia tomorrow morning. The chopper could just be checking things ahead that plane landing.

(I’d never heard off BBJ planes before! I want one.)

troutfisher 11:04 pm
20 May 12
#33

SHAG

“So you also agreed with Tasmanian police enforcing anti sodomy laws pre 1997, and Alabama police enforcing laws prohibiting interacial marriage (when that was illegal)?”

I can’t image any sane person would think these were just laws. Just for my knowledge, which level drug do you intend drawing a line at.

dvaey 11:04 pm
20 May 12
#34

troutfisher said :

Has anyone had the thought that in fact they may well be doing a number of things given the flight path. Just as a patrol car will move about from job to job the flying patrol car is able to:

This has been suggested before, that the police could have used a helicopter in some instances in the past. By all means, a police helicopter can prove very useful for the reasons you have mentioned. However, flying around in circles between midnight and 1am on a one-off Saturday night hardly means anything. In a day or two, they’ll move the chopper on to somewhere else now that theyve collected their evidence.

They never intended to bring the chopper here to actually assist the Canberra community, otherwise there would have been much fun and fanfare about its arrival. It has snuck in quietly, gone about its business noisily at 1am while the community tries to sleep, then buggers off to find some more herbal criminals.

If it was legalised, far too many people would lose far too much money and power, both on the corrupt blackmarket and the corrupt enforcement sides, and a LOT of jobs would be lost, if the phantom menace was suddenly no longer a menace. An entire industry has been built upon the war-on-drugs, that would crumble if such a large number of citizens were no longer considered to be breaking the law.

troutfisher 11:12 pm
20 May 12
#35

Pasted from another thread:

ACT Policing is appealing to car owners to remove all valuables from their cars of an evening after a recent spate of thefts in Canberra’s south.

Between Thursday, May 10 and Sunday, May 13, eleven cars were broken into from a number of suburbs in the Tuggeranong area, including Isabella Plains, Kambah, Monash, Chisholm, Fadden, Gordon and Richardson.

The break-ins occurred overnight with most car windows being smashed and items of value stolen, such as GPS, iPods, cash and wallets. Some of the cars have had their steering column removed and wires have been found loose in an attempt by offenders to steal the car.

Officer-In-Charge of Tuggeranong Police Station, Sergeant Daryl Neit, asks for car owners to remove all valuables from their cars when they get home of an evening.

“If people remove their valuables from their cars of an evening, their car is less likely to become a target for thieves. Most crimes are ones of opportunity,” said Sergeant Neit.

“I would urge anyone who sees or hears suspicious activity in their neighbourhood to call police on 131-444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

But don’t call if the sound of patrol cars going up and down your street might disturb you, or heaven pray the sound of a helicopter overhead being able to locate people with the FLIR. Thats is, unless, of course it’s your car then you won’t give a flying f%%k about disturbing your neighbours.

eq2 12:49 am
21 May 12
#36

troutfisher said :

Has anyone had the thought that in fact they may well be doing a number of things given the flight path. Just as a patrol car will move about from job to job the flying patrol car is able to:

Most of these flights were at a sustained altitude of 6000 ft, the human eye can’t really see anything interesting from this height so it is impractical to do many of the “flying patrol car” activities that have been suggested, even with IR assistance. Technology assisted surveillance or training are the only two activities that I can think of that would be able to be performed at this height.

Back to the unusual flights – If you look at at flight FDPOL21 at 2130 18/5 on http://webtrak.bksv.com/cbr you’ll see that it actually flies until about 00:20, even though http://flightaware.com states it landed around 2353. It looks like flightaware does not accurately record landings after midnight. It flies over many parts of the ACT including the Macgregor and Northbourne areas twice.

Aside from drug surveillance, the only other interesting crime that I’m aware of in the Canberra is the copper thievery that has been occurring.

eq2 12:50 am
21 May 12
#37

dvaey 2:34 am
21 May 12
#38

troutfisher said :

I can’t image any sane person would think these were just laws. Just for my knowledge, which level drug do you intend drawing a line at.

What about one that causes actual harm? Nicotine and Alcohol are legal, but Cannabis is not? It is not just the stubborness of the government to relook at the issue, but the hypocrisy of having one dangerous substance legal while a similar significantly less dangerous substance is illegal.

Deref 7:59 am
21 May 12
#39

Does anyone know what it costs to keep a helicopter like this in the air?

I really have no idea, but an all-up cost including amortisation, maintenance and staffing of, maybe, $10k per hour wouldn’t surprise me.

HenryBG 8:11 am
21 May 12
#40

eq2 said :

Also see http://earth-api-samples.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/external/marcin_cameralookat.html to see what the world looks like at 6000 ft

And from 700km up, IR gives you this:
http://sentinel1.ga.gov.au/Sentinel/imf.jsp

troutfisher said :

I can’t image any sane person would think these were just laws. Just for my knowledge, which level drug do you intend drawing a line at.

Well, they did try drawing the line below alcohol there for a while.
I don’t know if your subjective opinion would consider that a “just law” or not, but it certainly was an abject failure which gave a massive boost to organised crime.
With the failure of Prohibition, the line was redrawn above alcohol, but below cannabis. That too has proven an abject failure and given a massive boost to organised crime.

Obviously the line will have to be redrawn. Again.

Let us hope they use some evidence-based decisionmaking, this time, rather than falling, again, for the dishonest industry-funded lobbying campaign that obtained the prohibition on cannabis in the first place.

Tooks 9:03 am
21 May 12
#41

Talk about jumping to conclusions. Troutfisher is on the money (see post 31) regarding the activities of the chopper. I can’t believe what some people whine about. First world problems indeed.

Probably the AFP spending some of their budget before the end of the financial year…

Tooks 9:39 am
21 May 12
#42

eq2 said :

troutfisher said :

Has anyone had the thought that in fact they may well be doing a number of things given the flight path. Just as a patrol car will move about from job to job the flying patrol car is able to:

Most of these flights were at a sustained altitude of 6000 ft, the human eye can’t really see anything interesting from this height so it is impractical to do many of the “flying patrol car” activities that have been suggested, even with IR assistance. Technology assisted surveillance or training are the only two activities that I can think of that would be able to be performed at this height.

Back to the unusual flights – If you look at at flight FDPOL21 at 2130 18/5 on http://webtrak.bksv.com/cbr you’ll see that it actually flies until about 00:20, even though http://flightaware.com states it landed around 2353. It looks like flightaware does not accurately record landings after midnight. It flies over many parts of the ACT including the Macgregor and Northbourne areas twice.

Aside from drug surveillance, the only other interesting crime that I’m aware of in the Canberra is the copper thievery that has been occurring.

You think they’re peering out the windows using the naked eye?

I don’t know what you consider ‘interesting’ crime, but most weekends there will be a couple of pursuits, numerous disturbances, missing people, people with mental illness walking the streets threatening to jump off bridges/in front of buses, people breaking into cars etc. All of which the helicopter can assist with.

jase! 10:17 am
21 May 12
#43

Deref said :

Does anyone know what it costs to keep a helicopter like this in the air?

I really have no idea, but an all-up cost including amortisation, maintenance and staffing of, maybe, $10k per hour wouldn’t surprise me.

depending on the helicopter anything from 7-800 to maybe 2-2500 would be an expected range, probably somewhere in the middle

EvanJames 11:34 am
21 May 12
#44

You might as well get used to it. The curfew-free airport is dead-keen on having air movements all night, every night. While the runway and other areas aren’t being used, they’re dead money.

buzz819 11:38 am
21 May 12
#45

While the below laws do not illustrate what I would call “just and fare” laws, do you think that allowing the Police to pick and choose what laws to investigate would allow for what people call a transparent and corruption free justice system?

Again, Police investigate the laws set by the government, irrelevant to how poor you think these laws are, you want the law changed, talk to the legislative assembly and parliament, not the people who are employed to enforce said laws.

SHAG said :

buzz819 said :

HenryBG said :

buzz819 said :

HenryBG said :

So you also agreed with Tasmanian police enforcing anti sodomy laws pre 1997, and Alabama police enforcing laws prohibiting interacial marriage (when that was illegal)?

Woody Mann-Caruso 2:42 pm
21 May 12
#46

“There’s a car full of idiots doing circle work in our street, screaming obscenities and throwing bottles. I know where they live.”
“Yeah, we’ll only come out if you’re personally willing to press charges and testify against them in court.”

“I think somebody, somewhere, might be growing a recreational drug that’s about as harmful as caffeine.”
“I’ll get the chopper, then search the entire city. Twice. At night.”

nice_enough 2:49 pm
21 May 12
#47

johnboy said :

really shouldn’t be too hard to have a sensor listening for the rotor signature and turning off the lights automatically.

Pretty sure they look for heat not light. Heat from a grow room would take a longer time to disperse.

dvaey 2:55 pm
21 May 12
#48

Tooks said :

Talk about jumping to conclusions. Troutfisher is on the money (see post 31) regarding the activities of the chopper. I can’t believe what some people whine about. First world problems indeed.

Well, in that case, great. Lets hope it stays around for a little while for more than just a couple of 1am flights over suburbia, maybe it can be on-call for some rescues and general helo work around Canberra, while southcare goes off to help the region? When will be able to read reports of what theyve been upto, with our tax money, during our sleeptime?

EvanJames said :

You might as well get used to it. The curfew-free airport is dead-keen on having air movements all night, every night. While the runway and other areas aren’t being used, they’re dead money.

One would hope that AAE and Fedex when they bring their all-night flights in, actually use the corridors and runways rather than spending a few hours performing tight circles above the houses at a height of ~2000′ AGL. There is no reason why we should get used to helicopters circling above us in the middle of the night, just because they can. Then again, no doubt the police will pull out their ‘Police officers are exempt from the law’ card, just like they do when cops are caught on their phone or caught driving dangerously.

HenryBG 2:56 pm
21 May 12
#49

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

“There’s a car full of idiots doing circle work in our street, screaming obscenities and throwing bottles. I know where they live.”
“Yeah, we’ll only come out if you’re personally willing to press charges and testify against them in court.”

“I think somebody, somewhere, might be growing a recreational drug that’s about as harmful as caffeine.”
“I’ll get the chopper, then search the entire city. Twice. At night.”

As usual, you put it much better than I can. +1million.

Pork Hunt 5:13 pm
21 May 12
#50

EvanJames said :

You might as well get used to it. The curfew-free airport is dead-keen on having air movements all night, every night. While the runway and other areas aren’t being used, they’re dead money.

Why do people harp on about the “curfew-free” airport?

It’s curfew free because there is no demand for heavy jets (say B737 sized or bigger) at all hours of the night. The odd Metroliner that pops in and out in the wee hours without making a great deal of noise is fine at the moment.

If and when traffic increases to regular arrival and departure of heavy jets after 2300 you watch this site go into meltdown with rioters demanding a curfew.

If RiotAct through its punters can increase a speed limit on a road then it can certainly meddle in the best laid plans of an airport…

poetix 7:23 pm
21 May 12
#51

The flight patterns look just like wool unravelling on a map. Logically, this leads me to surmise that they’re searching for knitters of giant bookmarks.

‘It’s the futility police flying overhead again Mildred. Quck, hide the bookmark in that paper thing. You know, that thing with the writing inside.’

‘But If we knit in time with the chopper blades, they’ll never catch us.’

‘You’re sharp as a number four, dear.’

GardeningGirl 9:05 pm
21 May 12
#52

HenryBG said :

eq2 said :

Also see http://earth-api-samples.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/external/marcin_cameralookat.html to see what the world looks like at 6000 ft

And from 700km up, IR gives you this:
http://sentinel1.ga.gov.au/Sentinel/imf.jsp

troutfisher said :

I can’t image any sane person would think these were just laws. Just for my knowledge, which level drug do you intend drawing a line at.

Well, they did try drawing the line below alcohol there for a while.
I don’t know if your subjective opinion would consider that a “just law” or not, but it certainly was an abject failure which gave a massive boost to organised crime.
With the failure of Prohibition, the line was redrawn above alcohol, but below cannabis. That too has proven an abject failure and given a massive boost to organised crime.

Obviously the line will have to be redrawn. Again.

Let us hope they use some evidence-based decisionmaking, this time, rather than falling, again, for the dishonest industry-funded lobbying campaign that obtained the prohibition on cannabis in the first place.

There’s two things about alcohol, one is it can be enjoyed without the mind altering aspect, another is it was around for a long time before Prohibition so there was probably more of a sense of something not necessarily problematic being taken away from everybody, so rethinking Prohibition was not so much redrawing the line but putting it back where it used to be.
Of course some people do create problems when ingesting alcohol, and some people do with other substances. Does it really make sense for society to redraw the line to cater for those people who put a personal desire for getting high/drunk above the things that keep society functioning well like common sense, social responsibility, work ethic, the laws of the land, and does it really make sense to widen the substance choices available to those people?

LSWCHP 11:47 pm
21 May 12
#53

dvaey said :

If it was legalised, far too many people would lose far too much money and power, both on the corrupt blackmarket and the corrupt enforcement sides, and a LOT of jobs would be lost, if the phantom menace was suddenly no longer a menace. An entire industry has been built upon the war-on-drugs, that would crumble if such a large number of citizens were no longer considered to be breaking the law.

This is the absolute truth. When in doubt, consider who is making the money.

The people who most strongly promote the war on drugs are the ones who benefit most from the status quo…ie the current distributors and retailers of drugs.

If drug use was legalised and regulated then those who are currently making billions out of the drug trade would lose their money supply and hence their influence, and they will do anything they can to prevent that happening, including frothing at the mouth about the need to maintain the war on drugs.

eq2 11:50 pm
21 May 12
#54

Tooks said :

You think they’re peering out the windows using the naked eye?

I don’t know what you consider ‘interesting’ crime, but most weekends there will be a couple of pursuits, numerous disturbances, missing people, people with mental illness walking the streets threatening to jump off bridges/in front of buses, people breaking into cars etc. All of which the helicopter can assist with.

You’re right a helicopter could assist with those scenarios. However, for most of those scenarios you suggested the police would either A) vary their altitude to be of more assistance or B) hover in one spot. On both flight paths (see original post) the helicopter sustains its altitude and velocity. If all that crime that you suggested was happening why didn’t it adjust it’s altitude or velocity to assist?

john87_no1 8:50 am
22 May 12
#55

FOI request if thinking about this is keeping you awake at night…

Tooks 8:53 am
22 May 12
#56

HenryBG said :

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

“There’s a car full of idiots doing circle work in our street, screaming obscenities and throwing bottles. I know where they live.”
“Yeah, we’ll only come out if you’re personally willing to press charges and testify against them in court.”

“I think somebody, somewhere, might be growing a recreational drug that’s about as harmful as caffeine.”
“I’ll get the chopper, then search the entire city. Twice. At night.”

As usual, you put it much better than I can. +1million.

Pity you geniuses can’t read.

Tooks 8:56 am
22 May 12
#57

eq2 said :

Tooks said :

You think they’re peering out the windows using the naked eye?

I don’t know what you consider ‘interesting’ crime, but most weekends there will be a couple of pursuits, numerous disturbances, missing people, people with mental illness walking the streets threatening to jump off bridges/in front of buses, people breaking into cars etc. All of which the helicopter can assist with.

You’re right a helicopter could assist with those scenarios. However, for most of those scenarios you suggested the police would either A) vary their altitude to be of more assistance or B) hover in one spot. On both flight paths (see original post) the helicopter sustains its altitude and velocity. If all that crime that you suggested was happening why didn’t it adjust it’s altitude or velocity to assist?

I can tell you for a fact that the chopper was of assistance over the weekend at numerous incidents. Make of that what you will.

dvaey 9:16 am
22 May 12
#58

GardeningGirl said :

There’s two things about alcohol, one is it can be enjoyed without the mind altering aspect

Hang on a second. Are you trying to suggest that alcohol does not affect the mind? The sole purpose of alcoholic beverages is to alter your mind.

GardeningGirl said :

another is it was around for a long time before Prohibition so there was probably more of a sense of something not necessarily problematic being taken away from everybody,

Do you think Cannabis is a new creation? Evidence of Cannabis use has been found dating back over 5000 years. The US prohibition laws were brought in around 50 years ago and about 40 years ago the states started passing their own laws to push back against the federal laws. Shortly after the US introduced their laws, anyone who wished to continue trading with the US, followed whatever they said.

Admittedly the time between prohibition and reintroduction of alcohol was only 20 years compared to 80 years since the US first announced its regulation of Cannabis at the International Opium Convention in the 20s (they linked weed to smack back then, and the sheep are still believing it).

dvaey 9:26 am
22 May 12
#59

Tooks said :

I can tell you for a fact that the chopper was of assistance over the weekend at numerous incidents. Make of that what you will.

Great to hear it was of assistance. Are we mere citizens allowed to know what assistance the taxpayer-funded chopper provided? Other than a police chase (which happened 6hrs after the chopper was in the air), there have been no announcements from ACTPOL for anything that could be relevant.

Why do you come on here with comments like that? “I can tell you youre all wrong, because I know whats right” is starting to wear thin.. although I guess theres enough people here throwing around opinions that arent backed up, why not throw yours into the ring too.

Tooks 9:41 am
22 May 12
#60

dvaey said :

Tooks said :

I can tell you for a fact that the chopper was of assistance over the weekend at numerous incidents. Make of that what you will.

Great to hear it was of assistance. Are we mere citizens allowed to know what assistance the taxpayer-funded chopper provided? Other than a police chase (which happened 6hrs after the chopper was in the air), there have been no announcements from ACTPOL for anything that could be relevant.

Why do you come on here with comments like that? “I can tell you youre all wrong, because I know whats right” is starting to wear thin.. although I guess theres enough people here throwing around opinions that arent backed up, why not throw yours into the ring too.

You never tire of being wrong, do you? You 100% sure there was only one police pursuit from Friday-Sunday?

In this case, I can tell you you’re wrong because you are. My comment wasn’t an opinion – it was a fact. Don’t have a hissy fit because I’m not willing to go into specifics. Like I said, make of that comment what you will. You don’t believe me, fine (it is the internet after all). I couldn’t give two shits whether people believe it or not.

By the way, I never suggested that the benefit was worth the cost, so don’t try to start an argument about taxpayer costs. Do you want a full analysis of what every police car was doing over the same period? Presumably if it didn’t get its own media release, it’s not worth it. Police attend several hundred jobs every weekend. How many get a media release?

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