Kirtland AFB explains extra military air traffic over Albuquerque


While Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) just hosted an air show a couple of weeks ago, some people in the metro felt like some of the show had returned Friday morning with a lot of noise overhead from some big aircraft. 

Neighbors in the northeast Albuquerque foothills noticed the presence around 9 a.m. with several military helicopters and airplanes flying a few thousand feet above the ground. “It was a little bit different because the house was rattling,” said Marsha Thole. “I knew they were low.” 

While it’s common to see the pilots of KAFB flying around Albuquerque, neighbors noted how the flyover Friday seemed different. “They were doing loops around the city,” said Jackie Sanchez, who also lives in the foothills. 

KRQE News 13 asked Kirtland about the Friday flyovers. A representative of the base’s public affairs office said it was part of “orientation.” 

The base says the annual event isn’t considered a training exercise, but rather private flights for civilian employees, new hires and spouses. The base says the flights offer an important look for many to see Kirtland’s overall mission as an air training base. 

Some neighbors didn’t mind the noise. 

“I think it’s a wonderful thing to do for the spouses and family of those people who work so hard and sacrifice so much for us,” said Sanchez. 

“To me that’s the sound of freedom,” said Thole. 

But Thole also questioned the need for the flights. Thole is a veteran who retired from the Air Force. “It’s just an expenditure of tax dollars that I don’t think we’re ready for until we get our readiness back up to where it should be,” said Thole.  

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