(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Suspicious Activity Reporting Bulletin: Aviation Flyovers

Roll Call Release Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR): Aviation Flyovers

  • 1 page
  • For Official Use Only
  • June 18, 2012


(U) Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR): Aviation Flyovers

(U//FOUO) Terrorists may use small aircraft flyovers to conduct preoperational activities such as reconnaissance or rehearsals for planned attacks. When suspicious flyovers occur, law enforcement and first responders should report the key attributes of the flight and the aircraft for timely identification (time of day, location and direction of flight, facility overflown, aircraft size, markings, color scheme, tail number, number of windows, placement of wings or rotor, number of engines, and weather) to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through a local Air Traffic Control facility or office, a local Flight Standards District Office, or directly to the FAA’s Domestic Events Network at 202 493 5107, and the Transportation Security Administration. The FAA is often best able to distinguish between legitimate air traffic and suspicious flight operations that warrant further investigation.

(U//FOUO) The following SAR incidents illustrate types of aviation activity that may indicate preoperational stages or actual attacks. They are cited as examples for awareness and training purposes.

— (U//FOUO) Employees of a coast shipping container retrofit company observed a helicopter that made eight passes over the property. A man wearing a harness stood on the skids and took photographs of the area.
— (U//FOUO) A helicopter, flying at low altitude hovered over a dam, in violation of FAA regulations. Investigators determined that the registration number provided by the reporting party was not valid or on file with the FAA.
— (U//FOUO) An employee of a chemical company reported that a helicopter hovered within 50 feet of a storage tank. Observers also spotted another helicopter nearby. Neither aircraft had tail numbers carried in the FAA Registry

(U//FOUO) Possible Indicators of Suspicious Aviation Activity

(U//FOUO) The following activities can indicate suspicious aviation activity, but context should be carefully considered when evaluating the activity in order to rule out legitimate flyovers and inadvertent pilot error.  Suspicious activities involving aviation should be reported to appropriate authorities.

— (U//FOUO) Aircraft operating n violation or FAA regulations, such as in restricted/special use air space, or without a valid registration number in the FAA Registry (see http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/faa_ regulations/ for additional information).
— (U//FOUO) Aircraft flying at unusually low altitude or unusually slow speed.
— (U//FOUO) Aircraft making repeated flyovers, or hovering, without authorization over critical infrastructure, sensitive locations, events, or other activities
— (U//FOUO) Aircraft failing to respond to radio communications while in controlled airspace.

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