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FAA Has Questions For U.S. Army About Spectacular Titans Football Game Flyover

It’s also possible that downwash from the rotors could have kicked up objects and debris in the stadium, posing an issue for bystanders down below. “That flyover was a little [too] close to knocking down the flags and camera,” one fan Tweeted out afterward, highlighting these concerns. 

FAA regulations require military flyovers to “be accomplished at 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle,” Larry Williams, the retired aviation safety inspector, told NewsChannel 5 Investigates. If civilian aircraft had been involved, “most likely those pilots would have had their licenses suspended or revoked,” he added.

That being said, this is a recurring issue for the U.S. military and disciplinary action has been taken against pilots who have flown fixed-wing aircraft low over sporting events in violation of those regulations in the past.

However, an official “Guide to Low-Flying Aircraft” available on FAA’s website says, “Helicopter operations may be conducted below the minimum altitudes set for fixed-wing aircraft. The reason: They have unique operating characteristics, the most important of which is their ability to execute pinpoint emergency landings during power-out emergencies.” It also says includes the caveat that “helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed … [in] this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface.” It isn’t clear if any Army regulations applied in this case in addition to the FAA’s directives for rotary-wing flyovers or if any waivers had been secured in advance.

Whether or not the FAA or the Army feels that this particular flyover above Nissan Stadium violated any official regulations and warrants some sort of formal review remains to be seen.

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