Stillwater Regional Airport recovered from a weather-related shutdown Friday to greet some some unexpected visitors beginning before dawn. People living along the airport's flight path commented on social media about having their windows shaken as formations of CH-47 Chinook and Blackhawk military helicopters dropped in on Stillwater's air field throughout the day.
Airport Director Paul Priegel said having military aircraft stop by isn't unusual for Stillwater Regional, but a larger than usual number flying together made it more noteworthy, and probably more noticeable to people in the community. He said their arrival at such an early hour and having more people home because of school break might have also contributed to the stir they caused.
Stillwater Regional Airport is a fueling stop that logs about 2,500 operations, meaning take-offs and landings, for a variety of military aircraft each year, Priegel said. It sees aircraft like the training jets from Vance Air Force base just about every day but even the airport staff was impressed by Friday's mass of helicopters.
"Imagine my surprise when they pop out of total darkness landing right outside my office," Priegel replied to a comment about the aircraft.