Super Bowl 50 Flight Security To Include F-15 Fighter Jets, Helicopters

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Don’t be too alarmed if you see U.S. military fighter jets or helicopters flying overhead in the San Francisco Bay Area during Super Bowl 50.

Should there be significant impact on ground transportation on Super Bowl Sunday, helicopter transportation may be the only means to get the NFL teams to and from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

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In recent months, federal, state and local K-9 teams have conducted helicopter training at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco in preparation for the big game.

“One of the first steps in providing security for the Super Bowl is getting the dogs familiarized with the helicopters noise vibrations and seeing how they behave around it,” U.S. Park Police Officer Neil Wu said in December. “It’s better to find out how the dogs handle it now than later.”

Complete Super Bowl 50 Coverage

K-9 units familiarized themselves with the configurations of three types of military helicopters that may need to be used on game day: Coast Guard MH-65, California Highway Patrol AStar, and Air National Guard HH-60.

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“In the event of an emergency during Super Bowl 50, there will be a significant impact on ground transportation,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Neil Penso, a pilot assigned to Air Station San Francisco.

The Coast Guard launched the K-9 program approximately one year after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

No-fly zones implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and enforced by the U.S. Air Force and the California Air National Guard, will be in place during the Super Bowl as well.

F-15 pilots with the California Air National Guard will be standing by on game day and will also be flying drills at Oakland International Airport on Feb.  3.

The training flight will include the California Air National Guard and U.S. Airforce in participation with the Civilian Air Patrol (CAP), an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force that performs services for the federal government as well as for states and local communities as a nonprofit organization.

CAP will be flying its Cessna 182 airplanes into restricted airspace to simulate a trespassing aircraft while California Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force jet crews practice intercept techniques.

California Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force pilots will fly alongside the CAP planes, make radio contact and then guide them out of the restricted airspace.

The exercises, known as Falcon Virgo, are carried out as part of Operation Noble Eagle.

“The opportunity to ensure safe skies around Levi’s Stadium is a mission CAP takes very seriously,” said CAP national commander Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez. “Our aircrews are trained to simulate either threat or duress flights that inadvertently or purposely enter into restricted airspace.”

On game day, February 7,  extensive flight restrictions will be in place surrounding the stadium, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

FAA officials said that due to the high volume of air traffic anticipated during the Super Bowl activities, a ramp reservation is required for arrivals and departures at 15 airports in the Bay Area between 6 a.m. on Thursday, February 4th and 6 p.m. PST on Tuesday, February 8th.

On game day, general aviation operations will be prohibited within a 10-nautical mile radius of the stadium, according to FAA officials.

By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter


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