FAA Investigates Military Flyover at New Orleans Saints Game
The Federal Aviation Administration is reportedly investigating a military flyover that occurred at a recent NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans. (VIDEO BELOW)
According to a story from NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, the flyover in question involved four Army helicopters and the incident took place on November 14th.
What needs to be investigated? The issue, according to a retired aviation official, is that it appears that the helicopters were flying too low, against Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Most flyovers are just that: flyOVERS. This one appears to have been (almost) a fly-through. Some of the images make it appear that the helicopters were below the level of the lights, almost putting the aircraft IN the stadium.
Also, in the video posted by NewsChannel 5, you can clearly see a cable in the frame as the helicopters fly over the stadium. That cable is used to hold up the field goal net.
What's the problem with a cable? Cables and helicopters do not get along very well and, usually, a meeting of the two ends in tragedy. They are so much of a problem that all military helicopters have a Wire Strike Protection System (cable cutters) installed on the aircraft, usually above and below the cockpit.
One of the advantages of having a domed stadium like the New Orleans Saints have in the Superdome is that you are protected from the elements. Rain, sun, wind - the weather will not affect the game, making for a more comfortable outing for fans.
On the other hand, fans attending games at the Superdome do not get to experience the excitement and national pride that comes with seeing a military flyover.
How much authority does the Federal Aviation Administration have over our United States Military? None. If this investigation finds that those pilots put lives at risk, I guess that it could spark a conversation, but the FAA really has no bite when it comes to chasing the military.
The flyover was performed by pilots of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, which is a Combat Aviation Brigade. The flyover consisted of one CH-47 Chinook, two AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and one UH-60 Blackhawk.
Here's a look at what the fans saw during the flyover (note the cable that can be clearly seen stretching across the stadium):
Had one of the helicopters experienced a wire strike, it could have spelled tragedy for those aboard, the aircraft in close proximity, and those in the stadium.
I hope that this incident does not put a stop to the flyovers as I, for one, swell with pride when I get to experience one.
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