Over the last week, residents of Kingston, Ontario have observed an unidentified aircraft seemingly circling the city. While many of the city’s residents have heard the craft, few have actually seen it. The aircraft mostly flies at night seemingly without navigation lights, and many eyewitnesses report a strange red glow coming from the craft, likely from the instrument panel. While most observers suspect the aircraft is operated by either the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canadian Security Intelligence, or Royal Canadian Air Force, but all agencies have denied any knowledge of the craft. What might the plane be doing up there, and who is behind this mysterious operation?
While we might not be any closer to answering those questions, the mystery aircraft has finally been caught on film. According to the Kingston Whig Standard, a “local aircraft enthusiast” spotted the craft on January 13 and managed to get a photo of it. Neil Aird, a member of the real-time flight-tracking site Flightradar24, says he was plane spotting when he heard the mystery craft and was lucky enough to catch a glimpse long enough to snap a photograph:
As an aircraft enthusiast, not being able to see the plane but constantly hear it really is annoying. t took me a while to get [the photo]. When I took that picture, I was actually looking for another aircraft, a [Bombardier] Dash 8, but then it flew across my binoculars and I thought: ‘Aha! Gotcha.’
Aird says the craft appears to be a Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine passenger and cargo aircraft, and operates under the call sign C-GMPB PC-12 according to his own personal radar. That call sign is consistent with the appearance of the craft and oddly enough, the RCMP owns one. Mystery solved?
Not quite. A spokesperson for Kingston’s Norman Rogers Airport says they don’t know anything about the craft, and when asked for comment the RCMP issued another vague boilerplate statement in which they neither confirm nor deny the craft:
The RCMP’s primary concern is the safety and security of Canadians. We have multiple aircraft that support our mandate in Ontario and elsewhere in the country. To maintain the integrity of our investigations and operations, the location of our aircraft is not disclosed. We therefore have no additional information to share with you at this time.
It certainly seems as if someone is flying around in one of the RCMP’s aircraft, but what’s it doing up there? What’s going on in Kingston, Ontario that would require such secrecy?