Video: Armed MQ-1 Predator drone quietly flying at low altitude over Elgin, Illinois

Filmed in Elgin, Illinois about 40 miles from Chicago, the following video (uploaded to Youtube on May 13) shows what seems to be an MQ-1 Predator drone. Armed with AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

Noteworthy the drone is flying quite low (maybe to remain in visual contact with the ground below the clouds).

Even if someone believes the video is not genuine, the robot could be involved in a surveillance mission in anticipation of NATO meeting that will be held in Chicago on May 20 – 21.

Although not even comparable with what we have seen in London for next summer’s Olympic Games security, an armed drone over the U.S. territory is at least an uncommon sight.

H/T to WOI for the heads-up

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I seen that thing fly over Lasalle county the other day when I was fishing. If Obama gets re-elected he plans on having at least 2,000 drones watching all of us. LAND OF THE FREE LOL

  2. Don’t remember the exact details, but I do remember seeing an email exchange.. mighta been on Wikileaks, or one of the Anonymous dumps, where the Elgin police department was inquiring about the purchase of a drone for the purposes of surveillance and general policing..

    I don’t know if anything ever came of it, but this did trigger a memory.

  3. I saw one of these over Prince William Forest Park a couple years ago. Since Quantico Marine base borders the park, this was not too unusual. They make a distinctive sound, not like a Cesna, not like a radio control model, but somewhere in between. “Bzzzzzzz” It was flying just above treetop level. I presume that if it was higher, the sound would be fainter, but I remember what they sound like, and if I hear that sound I’ll know what it is.

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