Thursday, January 29, 2009

US Air Force to Fly Patrols for Super Bowl XLIII

News in Balance

News in Balance:

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Jan. 29, 2009 -- U.S. Air Force fighter pilots will be busy during Super Bowl XLIII as they will be flying to protect the sky around Raymond James Stadium Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla.

Airmen flying fighter jets may be visible enforcing the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary flight restriction zone during the National Football League's championship game.

In preparation for the Super Bowl, FAA officials will be imposing a temporary flight restriction over the greater Tampa area. Air Force fighters will be on patrol, and Customs and Border Patrol assets will also be airborne during the event. This interagency partnership helps ensure the safety of the sky over the stadium.

Maj. Gen. Henry C. "Hank" Morrow, the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region commander, said command officials provide air defense for the protection of the entire continental U.S., to include special events such as this year's Super Bowl.

"As America's air defenders, we have a total team mindset," General Morrow said. "Special events like this world-renowned sporting event take precise coordination with all mission partners, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Patrol, FAA and local law enforcement."

"America's [air operations center] will be closely monitoring all air activity while the FAA temporary flight restriction is in place," said Col. David Kriner, the 601st Air and Space Operations Center commander. "The men and women of this [air operations center] monitor the sky 24/7, 365 for the entire continental U.S., and Sunday's special event is another part of our mission set."

Air patrols are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure public safety while demonstrating Continental U.S. NORAD Region's rapid response capability. Continental U.S. NORAD Region officials have conducted air patrols throughout the United States since the beginning of Operation Noble Eagle, the command's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Continental U.S. NORAD Region flights will have minimal impact on aircraft in the area during the Super Bowl and are not in response to any specific threat.

"We want citizens to know that we are always on the job, and defending our homeland from air threats is our No. 1 priority," General Morrow said.

(Report from a U.S. Air Force news release.)

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