Plane flying in circles causes confusion in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -- A Navy plane out of Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City was doing “touch 'n go's” at Lambert Airport  Tuesday afternoon. Fox 2 News received multiple calls from viewers concerned the plane was in distress or doing something that should cause them concern. Lambert Airport also received many phone calls.

FOX 2 receptionist Natasha Rohlfing took this photo of the airplane as it circled above the Fox 2/KPLR studios in Maryland Heights:

This is a photo of the airplane as it circled above the Fox 2/KPLR studios in Maryland Heights

Several viewers described their neighbors all “lining the streets” of subdivisions in Edmundson and nearby Bridgeton watching the plane circle.

Jeff Lea of Lambert Airport says the big white plane was a Mercury E6.  It was built by Boeing and was doing “pattern work” at Lambert airport.  The Lambert Airport administration is not involved in permitting the exercise.

Doing practice "touch" landings is common for the U.S. military planes.  Airplanes briefly touch their wheels on the runway, then power back up for a take-off.

There are two squadrons of the E-6B Mercury at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City. The Ironmen and Shadows squadrons deploy more than 20 aircrews at Tinker. The Mercury E6 is an airborne command post and communications relay airplane used by the Navy. It is commonly used to convey instructions from National Command to fleet ballistic missile submarines.

File photo of the aircraft from the Navy:

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