Skip to main content

Mysterious plane circling Twin Cities raises concerns over surveillance

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The unusual pattern of a plane that has been seen circling above the Twin Cities has raised concerns that it is being used for government surveillance.

KSTP reports that flight patterns for a Cessna 182T Skylane, call sign N361DB, show it circling above various locations in and around the metro area, prompting a response from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which believes the plane is equipped with surveillance gear.

The FBI has refused to comment on whether it is using the plane as part of an investigation, but ACLU-MN legislative director told KSTP that its surveillance planes have the ability to "capture activity in an entire city in just a few swoops, including cell phone data and license plate readers."

The aircraft's history on FlightRadar24 shows it has circled above the west metro area on several occasions over the past 10 days – including over Minneapolis, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park and Burnsville.

MPR reports as well that last Friday the plane circled downtown and Powderhorn Park during rush hour in a route "so precise that it suggests the plane may have been on autopilot."

According to FlightAware, the plane is one of three Cessnas registered to a corporation named LCB Leasing based out of Bristow, Virginia.

The Star Tribune spoke to local aviation expert John Zimmerman, who found a report from the Washington Post stating that a plane registered to another company based in Bristow had been used by the FBI to circle Baltimore hours after the recent riots.

Similar flights have been seen above Chicago, Boston and in California.

The Star Tribune reports that police departments in Minneapolis, Bloomington and Hennepin County had no knowledge of the flight, while the FBI did not comment on who owned the plane and said it couldn't speak to "an operational matter." It has though previously acknowledged using planes above Baltimore.

Next Up

BrillyCarchiGoFundMe

Tributes to 15-year-old girl killed in Burnsville crash

The teenager was a student at Burnsville High School.

police lights

Charges: New Ulm couple abused young children with cruel punishments

Warning: The following contains upsetting details about child abuse.

Screen Shot 2023-01-30 at 1.18.29 PM

Boy reels in 9.5lb walleye, wins pickup truck at Brainerd ice fishing tourney

Contestants come from all over the country compete in the annual event held in Brainerd.

ArrowheadRace

Arrowhead 135 ultramarathon in northern MN kicks off in -25F temperatures

The race is considered one of the 50 most challenging races in the world.

Screen Shot 2023-01-30 at 9.31.03 AM

Old Navy closes Eagan store

There's another change in store for the popular Eagan strip mall.

CoreyRymanAVShootingCharges

Charges: Man shot victim in leg outside a Cowboy Jack's

Corey Ryman allegedly chased another man around a parking lot before shooting him.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man shot in both feet after interrupting vehicle break-in in St. Paul

The incident happened just before 10 p.m. Saturday.

Related