OT: The end of military flyovers?

Submitted by cadmus2166 on March 1st, 2013 at 8:49 AM

It looks like March 10th at the Las Vegas NASCAR race will be the final flyover at a sporting event, at least until the end of September, due the the sequestration budget cuts that trim training hours.  It's too bad, as it serves as a reminder of the sacrifice that some make to provide the freedom for thousands of people to gather and root on their favorite teams.  Hopefully they will be back in the near future.



Mod Edit: no nice things. [zl]

Edit:  Sorry, wasn't trying to cause controversy or make this political, just thought it was an interesting topic that would be noticed by people who attend outdoor sporting events.




March 1st, 2013 at 9:41 AM ^

another example of people spouting off on something they know NOTHING about.  I've been part of many operational squadrons, oversaw many flying hour programs in both the AF and the Navy.  The budget for these types of things come from what's called O&M pots of money, Operations and Maintenance.  Its a zero-sum budget that must be completed by Sept 30th every year.  These flyovers are part of training, which is a large part of a squadron's budget.  You pay for it regardless of its a training flight doing practice instrument approaches or this type of tactical event.  They count towards the crew's yearly requirements to accomplish a certain number of events during a certain period of time.

Bottom line:  relax, this doesn't cost you necessarily more than what you already pay for.  This situation with sequestration is an accross the board cut and something must go first.  This is just one way to conserve until things get back to normal...whatever that term means.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:14 AM ^

If it was just purely training and let's say training hours were cut 5% or something why couldn't flyovers fit within the training hours if this is just normal training? Am I missing something here or is this just one way to remind people that their budget has been cut?


March 1st, 2013 at 10:44 AM ^

Highlighted by: (emphasis mine)

"According to Varhegyi (AF Public Affairs Rep), the Air Force conducts about 1,000 flyovers a year at sports venues and other events. They are made in conjunction with pre-allotted training hours for pilots.

It’s no additional cost to the government for support of any public events,” she said. “Typically, if you see a unit fly over a football game, that is 90 seconds out of a several hour training sortie that they’re flying.”  Under sequestration, such training hours would be curtailed."



March 1st, 2013 at 9:05 AM ^

As far as I'm concerned, flyovers are a 2-birds-1-stone solution. Pilots need to fly to train, we don't want to be sending pilots out who have no air time. Sometimes they may fly long missions heading towards a large target, need to make a low altitude pass at said target, and then head back to base (say a bombing run).

Why not make that bombing run practice coinside with a sporting event? I mean, they need to practice, and a big stadium is as good a practice target as any, may as well do it with people inside.

The Air Force (or Navy, I dont remember) actually made their flyover request form public because they had to fly practice runs, and they might as well give the fans a show while they practice. EDSBS actually requested a flyover to his kids' birthday (didn't happen).

Do you think that the pilot practice runs are a waste of money? Or just that they coordinate them with sporting events? Because I could do that for free with a google calander.

MI Expat NY

March 1st, 2013 at 9:56 AM ^

Playing devil's advocate, if flyovers didn't cost the military money, why would they be cut?  There's a million quotes from military personnel out there that say flyovers are great advertising and help recruiting.  If there was no additional cost to perform them over traditional training runs, there's no reason to cut them.  When you have to trim budgets you don't trim your "2-birds-1-stone" activities.

MI Expat NY

March 1st, 2013 at 10:30 AM ^

So you cut the training runs that also serve as "free" advertising?  Free as in, according to you and others in the military, the training run is going to happen anyway, so the advertising benefit literally costs no money.  

I get that something needs to be cut.  I also get that the sequester is stupidly formulated that the DOD can't really target particular programs for larger or smaller cuts but has to cut everything by about 9%.  But that doesn't change the fact that if flyovers are just training runs that happen to go over a particular airspace associated with a sporting venue, they shouldn't need to be cut for budget purposes.  If the millitary needs to cut training runs by 9% and flyovers are equal in all ways, you would think it would be other training runs that get cut in light of the recruiting benefit.  Or at least not all flyovers would be cut.  They would be similarly pared down as other training runs.  So there may be less flyovers but not none.

It seems to me that you are tacitly agreeing that there is some extra cost to the budget to perform flyovers by acknowledging that flyovers are the first thing axed in tight budgets.



March 1st, 2013 at 10:01 AM ^

and reality share anything in common? There are bases all across the country that the military would love to see closed. They are kept open by the local senators and representatives - jobs, don't you know. We might stop fly-overs, but those bases will remain open.



March 1st, 2013 at 9:00 AM ^

It looks like March 10th at the Las Vegas NASCAR race will be the final flyover at a sporting event, at least until the end of September

So essentially it's the end of flyovers at baseball games during the 2013 season? That's sort of a bummer, but I doubt we've seen the last flyover at Michigan Stadium.

Methinks your title is overly alarmist.


March 1st, 2013 at 9:00 AM ^

Pilots need a certain number of flying hours every month to stay current/certified. Flyovers at sporting events count toward that, so it isn't some huge taxpayer money shakedown. Those pilots are usually local National Guardsmen who have limited opportunities to get their flight hours in. Plus, yes flyovers are American and badass.


March 1st, 2013 at 9:53 AM ^

These things are always political, and it's a good play by the military. 1) They get people to "feel" the budget cuts and hate it, and 2) It's a nice response to the "flyovers are a blatant waste of taxpayer money" crowd. Cutting any other 90 seconds of flight time, or simply doing fewer flyovers, would be seriously underplaying their political hand.

/end politics


March 1st, 2013 at 9:31 AM ^

My wife can hook us up with some Reaper drones and some new one she isn't allowed to talk about that much, but is basically the drone version of a B-2 that also can operate from carriers.  

In fact with modern endurance they can 'loiter' over the visiting team's bench the entire game.


March 1st, 2013 at 9:35 AM ^

I'll tell you the flyover I most vididly remember.  It was a couple of years ago and it was by a commercial jumbo jet that got incorrectly diverted directly over the stadium (against FAA guidelines) and it scared the living SHIT out of me.  I sit in section 3 and I saw that baby coming in from my left and it was decending fast and directly at us.  I won't lie - all I thought was "Holy Mother of God - if some nutjobs really wanted to kill a bunch of people flying a jumbo into the Big House would sure accomplish the goal."  Obviously nothing happened but man was that a moment.

If you were there and saw it you know what i'm talking about.  That particular "fly over" I wont mind if i never see again.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:06 AM ^

I remember that day as well.  Actually the pilot was instructed to fly that route by Approach Control into DTW.  There was a thread about this.  ATP (Air Transport Pilots) rarely deviate from instructions unless there is an emergency.

I looked this up and the aircraft was about 5000 feet although it did look closer because it was an Airbus.



M Fanfare

March 1st, 2013 at 9:41 AM ^

If the military stops doing flyovers, there are still civilian aircraft that can do them. Michigan could hire the Yankee Air Museum to do flyovers with their B-17, B-25 (which did the flyover for the UConn game in 2010), and C-47 (which did the flyover at the UTL game). Plus the money would support a local museum.


March 1st, 2013 at 9:44 AM ^

Bob Lutz also has a pair of jets at Willow Run, because I'm sure we all want an 81 year old doing flyovers.

I wonder what the going rate for a pair of used and demilitarized F-14s is?  We do have "fuck you" money after all and a pair of 4th generation fighter jets in Michigan livery seems like an excellent recruiting tool.  Imagine if your visit included a back seat ride in one.


March 1st, 2013 at 9:44 AM ^

of current military flyovers we can still enjoy alot of the old combat aircraft that are all now civilian owned.

I love a B2, Hornet, Falcan, etc as much as the next guy but if fans haven't seen a flight of P-51s come over at about 400 mph it would be just as impressive.  So many in the A2 area alone over at Willow Run with the Yankee Air Museum.  They have several b-25's, always flying a b-17g, i think we've seen the c-47 at games.  Next war up - there are F-86's around, several F-80's, and a number of Skyraiders.

Think we can make due until the kids in Washington get their shit together.