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Blackhawk helicopters buzz downtown in military exercise

June 24, 2009 | 10:34 pm

Night-time military helicopter flights over downtown Los Angeles this week are part of training exercises to familiarize military personnel with urban settings and prepare them for future assignments overseas, according to authorities.

The helicopters, which have appeared nightly for almost a week, have attracted the attention of residents as they hover over downtown landmarks like City Hall, or maneuver quickly between office skyscrapers on Bunker Hill. While many residents speculated that the diving and climbing helicopters were part of a movie shoot, authorities confirmed Wednesday that they were part of a joint exercise.

A short notice saying the LAPD would be supporting an urban military exercise was posted on the department's official blog.

The notice says the exercises started June 15 and are scheduled to end Saturday and that they will occur throughout Greater Los Angeles.

Authorities said training sites and times have been selected so they do not disrupt the daily routines of businesses and residents. Safety precautions have also been taken to protect the public and military personnel. The training is not open to the public.

-- Richard Winton and Dan Weikel

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