At about 10:15 p.m. Nov. 14, my wife and I were having a conversation in our home when we heard the very loud rumble of turbo-prop aircraft.
They came in so low and so fast that we had very little time to get outside to see what was happening, but by the sound of what we heard, we knew the two had already passed and a third was moving past at the moment we stepped onto our sidewalk.
We momentarily caught sight of the third aircraft’s tail directly to the south of us — maybe one-quarter mile — moving eastward, then we immediately saw a fourth aircraft pass by on a west-to-east course.
We only had a second or two to see it before it passed beyond our view, but we both agreed on four things:
They were very, very low — my wife said tree-top level, but I’d say more like 500 feet or less.
They were moving flat-out as if they’d firewalled the throttles (their loudness was amazing; our entire house shook!).
They were C-130 aircraft.
They were absent of any running lights.
To reiterate, we didn’t see a single marker light.
There’s nothing like a little excitement in the dark of night to make life interesting. And although I have no problem with the “sound of freedom,” those boys and/or girls were way too low and fast over a populated region to remotely be considered safe.
I’ve only seen this once before — in Tacoma in the mid-1980s, when two C-130s that were flying abreast and a C-141 that flew the slot position directly behind them came directly overhead our home in north Tacoma. They also were flying very low and fast, also on a west-to-east course, but during the middle of the day.
Only because I was outside at the time did I get a two- or three-second glimpse of those guys before they were lost behind the roofs of my neighbor’s houses. They were going that low and that fast!