ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -A mysterious white plane drew plenty of attention Tuesday afternoon near Lambert Airport and nearby Maryland Heights. The low flying four engine plane came low over ranch style homes in Edmundson and prompted some to take photographs.
Janice Marienau of the 43-hundred block of Beauty in Edmundson started to photograph the plane after it flew over her family's home three times. Then she called FOX 2 News when calls to Lambert Airport and Scott Air Force Base in Illinois turned up no explanation.
"We thought it was unusual because we thought why not Scott Air Force base, why not Mid America where they don't have a lot of traffic," Marienau said.
The low flying plane raised even more questions when some military jets took off at Lambert. "I was telling my mom and my brother they were so low I think if somebody jumped out of it with a parachute they wouldn't have had time to open," she said.
One of her photos, when enlarged, showed a U.S. Navy white star in a navy circle and the word Navy on the virtually all white plane.
Navy Commander Ed McCabe cleared up the mystery. "It's a strategic communications plane we use like a radio in the sky." Pilots from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma were taking advantage of the good weather to do some training in the Mercury E6. Commercial as well as military airports serve as practice points for low approaches and touch and go, Cmdr. McCabe explained. "They need to see a variety of airports; the more fields a pilot sees, the better prepared he'll be," said McCabe.
It's routine training for new or experienced pilots that is all done with the permission of air traffic controllers at the airports.
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File photo of the aircraft from the Navy: