Word of the Day: “Black Helicopter” … Seen in Schaumburg, Really


VIDEO: Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flying over Toys “R” Us.

The term “black helicopter” is often used to describe conspiracy theories in general, and is often used jokingly to respond to someone who says something with a tone of conspiracy. For example, when someone makes a statement of paranoia about the government watching or following our every moves, the response might be, “You’ve been seeing ‘Black Helicopters’ again?”

On Tuesday, June 29, 2010 a dark or black helicopter was circling the area west of Golf and Meacham in Schaumburg. The helicopter, which appeared to be a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, also appeared to be doing touch-and-go landings at the Schaumburg Municipal Helipad behind John Barleycorn and Toys “R” Us. No markings were visible on the helicopter.

“Black helicopters” is a term which became popular in the United States militia movement and its associated political circles in the 1990s as a symbol and warning sign of an alleged conspiratorial military takeover of the United States. Rumors would circulate that, for instance, the United Nations patrolled the US with unmarked black helicopters, or that federal agents used black helicopters to enforce wildlife laws. The concept springs from the basic truth that many government agencies and corporations do use helicopters, and that some of these helicopters are dark-colored or black. For instance, dark-colored military helicopters were deployed in the standoff at Ruby Ridge. Earlier tales from the 1970s linked them with UFO conspiracy theories.

The concept of ‘black helicopters’ was first popularized in the early 1990s by Mark Koernke, also known as “Mark from Michigan”, in appearances on Tom Valentine’s radio show and in public speeches which were widely circulated on videocassette, and shortly thereafter by Linda Thompson in her film America Under Siege. In Alex Jones’ film Police State 2000 unmarked black helicopters are shown flying low in surprise urban warfare training missions with Delta Force operators and foreign troops.

Jim Keith wrote two books on the subject: Black Helicopters Over America: Strikeforce for the New World Order (1995), and Black Helicopters II : The End Game Strategy (1998).

Media attention to black helicopters increased in February 1995, when first-term Republican northern Idaho Representative Helen Chenoweth charged that armed federal agents were landing black helicopters on Idaho ranchers’ property to enforce the Endangered Species Act. “I have never seen them,” Chenoweth said in an interview in The New York Times. “But enough people in my district have become concerned that I can’t just ignore it. We do have some proof.” Chenoweth made the charges at a press conference without ever consulting with the Department of the Interior.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which enforces the act, says that they do not own any helicopters nor have ever used them in Idaho. The only green and black military helicopters known to be used in Idaho are used by the National Guard.

The black helicopters theory resonates well with the belief held by some in the militia movement that troops from the United Nations might invade the United States. The John Birch Society published an article in The New American detailing how the existence of the covert aircraft was mostly the product of possible visual errors and a tendency towards overboard caution.

Reported uses of black, dark or unmarked helicopters:
Black helicopters without FAA-required running lights are regularly used by the drug interdiction office of the DEA. In addition, most U.S. Army helicopters (such as the Black Hawk or UH-60 Blackhawk) are finished in a very dark chocolate or olive matte paint.

At least some sightings of black helicopters are very likely to have been helicopters on exercises and/or missions. Some of them are flown by units of the Army National Guard and are actually black (not dark olive or chocolate brown) when seen in ordinary light. The Department of Homeland Security operates a dozen black-and-gold UH-60 Blackhawk under the US Customs Service. The American military does in fact operate helicopters painted in black or dark colors, particularly the Pave Low which is optimized for long-range stealthy insertion and extraction of personnel, including combat search and rescue.

U.S. Army and National Guard helicopters painted olive drab will appear to be black in the reddish light of dawn or dusk, or under other low light conditions during the day when their shadow side is viewed against the sky with the naked eye. The Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment use helicopters primarily painted black.

The U.S. Army regularly conducts both exercises and operational missions in American airspace. Some of these exercises have taken place in densely populated cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Oakland and Washington, D.C. Most operational missions are tasked in narcotics interdiction in the American Southwest and out of Florida and Puerto Rico. By extensive use of IR, Radar, GPS and night vision devices, as well as other classified means, they are able to fly in zero visibility conditions with no running lights. At this high intensity level of operation, training is necessarily almost as dangerous to pilots, other air traffic, and the public as actual combat. Frequent practice is necessary to retain proficiency. Frequent practice results in frequent sightings by concerned members of the public.

The UH-60 entered service with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division in June 1979. The U.S. military first used the UH-60 in combat during the invasion of Grenada in 1983, and again in the invasion of Panama in 1989. During the Gulf War in 1991, the UH-60 participated in the largest air assault mission in U.S. Army history with over 300 helicopters involved. In 1993, Black Hawks featured prominently in the assault on Mogadishu in Somalia. Black Hawks also saw action in the Balkans and Haiti in the 1990s. UH-60s continue to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A variation of the UH-60 is the two-tone painted VH-60N, which transports the President of the United States.

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  1. Just a note, thanks for the great and factual article above, I was surfing for some info on the Black UH 60 Blackhawk that flew over me where I live in North Bend WA, I have seen the Sherrifs new chopper and it wasn’t them (every darn helicopter in the NW flies over our park on the way to the Snoqualmie Pass) I only see the Black – Blackhawk occasionally, (probably DEA as I heard they were trying to scoop up the methheads and oxycontin dealers in the never ending battle) No markings that I could see, Anybody know who they are?

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