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Golf tourney flyover scares Eastside neighbors

The low-flying 777 is a traditional scene for the Boeing Classic golf tournament.
/ Source: KING5

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. – If you’re the Boeing Company and you’re sponsoring a big golf tournament, it makes sense to make a big splash.

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That’s what the company was going for Friday when a 777, escorted by two old military aircraft, did a low flyby over TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, home of this week’s Boeing Classic.

But if you live in nearby Duval, Carnation or Snoqualmie and didn’t know it was coming, your perspective might be different.

The phones in the KING 5 Newsroom lit up after the 777 made several laps, followed by a pair of chase planes.

"We are all freaked out here,” said Barbara Shastko of Duvall.

Tom Skelton, who also lives near Duvall, says he was unnevered and didn’t know what was going on after the plane flew low over his home.

“And they did this routine for 20-25 minutes at least. And then I thought, well, this is kind of odd. Is this Deja Vu 9-11 or something like that?” said Skelton.

This is the fourth year of the flyby for the Boeing Classic, but this time, it caught people off guard. Some people called 911, which had been notified of the flight.

Boeing said it filed a flight plan with the FAA, notified the Transportation Security Administration, FBI, Homeland Security and local police and fire departments. It even put out a press release this week about the upcoming flights, but it wasn’t widely publicized by the media.

The chase planes were part of a fleet of former military jets that take pictures for flight testing and publicity shots. 

The incident is reminiscent of one that happened over New York City in April. One of the 747s used by Pres. Obama, called Air Force One when he is actually on board, did a low flyby of the Statue of Liberty. It was escorted by two F-16 fighter jets. The photo-op was unannounced and had some panicked New Yorkers fearing a repeat of Sept. 11, 2001.

Louis Caldera, the White House aide who approved the flight, resigned in the aftermath.

KING TV is a sponsor of the golf tournament.