U.S. Navy: Helicopter pilots involved in unscheduled flyby at Lambeau Field followed rules

Richard Ryman
Green Bay Press Gazette
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A U.S. Navy helicopter circles Lambeau Field during the first quarter of the Green Bay Packers Aug. 16 preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

GREEN BAY – The U.S. Navy has concluded the pilots who did a flyby of Lambeau Field in August followed the rules.

Two U.S. Navy MH-60R Seahawks from squadron HSM-75, based in San Diego, circled the stadium during the first quarter of an Aug. 16 preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, surprising both the Packers organization and 74,434 fans. The team frequently schedules flyovers before games, but none was planned for that game. 

The Navy investigation found "the aircrew did not violate any FAA regulations or military operating instructions," Cmdr. Ron Flanders, public affairs officer for U.S. Naval Air Forces, said in an email.

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"The aircrew followed an approved flight profile consistent with flights into and out of Green Bay (Austin Straubel) International Airport. The aircrew were in contact with, and received explicit permission from, the control tower that owned the airspace throughout flight operations, obeyed relevant altitude and speed requirements, and their conduct was assessed as safe and professional."

A helicopter flies over the stadium during the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers NFL preseason game at Lambeau Field on Thursday, August 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wis.

In an environment where safety concerns are elevated, as they have been since Sept. 11, 2001, such surprises can be disconcerting, especially where large crowds are involved. 

The Packers, who work closely with the armed forces in scheduling flyovers, indicated they would like for those events to be planned. 

"We spoke with our friends in the armed forces and expressed that our game-day operations that include aircraft are planned events we announce ahead of time so our fans can be prepared to see the aircraft," Aaron Popkey, Packers director of public affairs, said in September.




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