“Low” would be an under-statement.  As the Air Force Times reports here (it also contains the quite impressive video of the fly over), the Air Force has

disciplined [three pilots] for flying much too low and too fast, and the flight leader — already planning to retire — is giving up his right to fly military aircraft . . . .

The four Talon T-38 Trainer jets were at an altitude just 16 feet above the stadium’s press box when they wowed 70,000 fans inside Kinnick Stadium before Iowa hosted Ohio State on Nov. 20 . . . .

The jets cleared the scoreboard by 58 feet, and their altitude of 176 feet above ground level was far lower than the 1,000-foot minimum elevation required for flights above a populated area such as a stadium, the Air Force investigation concluded. The jets also approached speeds of 400 knots, above the limit of 300, during both the flyover and practice runs the day before, the investigation found.

These incidents are  always a bit sad, see Navy incident last year, Navy Times and video here.  It’s gotta be hard to tell even an experienced pilot, give the fans their money’s worth because it helps recruiting . . . and, oh by the way, don’t fly too fast or too low in that multi-million dollar speed machine you are strapped to.

7 Responses to “Air Force Disciplines Pilots in For “Low” Flyover”

  1. Mike No Man Navarre says:

    By the way, anyone recall if the pilot that did the TCU v. Navy flyover, that practically dipped his wind inside the the stadium, was ever disciplined? See here.

  2. Dew_Process says:

    The reality is that they were flying at 3 times the altitude they train at…and were probably better aviators than their jealous superiors. Next year they can use a flight of C-130’s…

  3. Ama Goste says:

    There may be some jealousy involved, but safety must have factored in there somewhere. It’s one thing to fly over the wide-open plains of northern OK or southern KS at very low altitudes. (Before SG thinks I’m dissing the Sooner State, let me assure everyone I mean no disrespect to my adopted home state.) It’s quite another to “buzz the tower” packed with tens of thousands of fans.

  4. Ama Goste says:

    …and then there’s the problem of making false statements afterwards. I always told my clients that commanders/shirts understand their troops aren’t perfect, but nothing screws them into the ceiling faster than lying to cover it up.

  5. soonergrunt says:

    @Ama Goste, 1632;
    Not at all. There’s a very good reason that the Air Force put the ‘learn to fly’ bases in the flat, empty nothing of the western half of Oklahoma. It’s a hell of a lot easier for student pilots to get the hang of what they’re doing without worrying about a mountain or two in the way. Besides, I grew up in Colorado. I just live here.

  6. Mike No Man Navarre says:

    I\’ve seen probably a dozen pre-game flyovers (I\’m not a former Mid so it is a small sample size). And if I had to make an uneducated guess about the percentage of those 12 that were at or above the AF\’s supposed 1000 ft ceiling, I\’d have to say 8.3% or one–the bomber flyover at a game in Baltimore, if I recall correctly. Just saying. Now 16 ft above the press box, ok maybe that\’s a bit extreme–there is video on youtube shot by a broadcaster and the jets look like they are at eye level. But it is still a tough job.

  7. Charles Gittins says:

    I concur with No Man . . . I flew in a couple of flyovers in the 80s and we were nowhere near 1000 feet. I have also attended many Navy games and no one flies the flyover at 1000 feet. Maybe 500, but I am guessing 300 would be closer to the truth. A flyover at 1000 feet would barely merit a small tennis clap.