(QCOSTARICA) At least three United States military helicopters were spotted flying over Costa Rica skies Wednesday morning, surprised many Ticos who shared their photos on social networks.
Enio Cubillo, director of Civil Aviation, said that the aircraft entering Costa Rica airspace, over flying the country on the way to Honduras and confirmed they had permission.
“They were en route from Honduras of Panama, with a refueling stop in Liberia (Guanacaste),” said Cubillo.
According the Aviation chief, the helicopters are operating within the framework of U.S. non-armed aircraft, which has been greatly debated over the year.
For an aircraft of this type to fly in Costa Rica, legislators should issue a permit, as established by a circular of the Directorate of Civil Aviation of 2005.
Posts on Facebook, like the one by Cariari Informa and many others claim to have seen helicopters in the area of Guápiles, east of San Jose, on the way to Limon.
From the photos posted, it is clearly visible that the helicopters are no the Black Hawks flying over San Jose during the visit by President Barack Obama in May 2013 .
In the evening prior to the arrival of Obama, the Black Hawks flew “low and slow”, in the cover of night, over the capital city.
The helicopters spotted Wednesday appear to be the CH-47 Chinook, a twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. According to Wikipedia, its primary roles are troop movement, artillery placement and battlefield resupply. It has a wide loading ramp at the rear of the fuselage and three external ventral cargo hooks. With a top speed of 170 knots (196 mph, 315 km/h) the helicopter was faster than contemporary 1960s utility helicopters and attack helicopters, and is still one of the fastest helicopters in the US inventory. The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters. Its name is from the Native American Chinook people.