A Dangerously Low Flyover At Kinnick Football Stadium Forces Major To Turn In His Wings

Photo: TheMatadorSports

For those 70,000 fans that witnessed the spectacular aerial T-38 flyover at Kinnick Stadium back on November 20, 2010, the Air Force has finally come down on the pilots. When Iowa hosted Ohio State, the university thought a military flyover would be a patriotic way to conclude the pregame festivities. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the fans, the squandering created an unnecessary risk for all those who attended by flying too close to the ground.Maj. Christopher Kopacek was the flight lead who led his four T-38s over Kinnick Stadium at a dangerously low altitude of only 16 feet above the press box and clearing the scoreboard by only 58 feet. The Air Force was displeased with the major’s reckless low altitude flying which was akin to buzzing the tower à la Top Gun which is a serious breach of flight safety and protocol.

The Air Force has strict safety guidelines to include a 1,000 foot minimum elevation for low level flying. Maj. Kopacek led his squadron to only 176 feet above ground level. Additionally, the T-38s were flying at speeds of up to 400 knots, well above the 300 knot cap for flyovers. Maj. Kopacek did not have Air Force or FAA approval to fly at such dangerous speed and altitude.

As a result, Maj. Kopacek turned in his wings and will no longer fly military aircrafts. The remaining pilots have been disciplined but are expected to return to the cockpit. For Iowa fans, don’t fret, there will be more aerial flyover for 2011.

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