MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Alabama – A demonstration of an airplane flying into restricted Super Bowl airspace is being held Jan. 30, 2018, with Minnesota Air National Guard F-16s intercepting a Cessna from Civil Air Patrol’s Minnesota Wing.
“CAP airplanes are used throughout the year to assist the Air Force with training to protect the skies across the country,” said Col. James Garlough, commander of CAP’s Minnesota Wing. “We’re going to show the media how it will be done on Feb. 4 around U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis during Super Bowl LII.”
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the FAA routinely implements Temporary Flight Restrictions around major events to ensure no general aviation airplanes enter for a specified radius. Air Force fighter aircraft enforce the TFRs during the time of the event.
The demonstration, hosted by the Minnesota Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing at Duluth Air National Guard Base, will simulate an aircraft that enters the no-fly zone around the Super Bowl being intercepted. Air Force pilots will fly alongside the CAP plane, make radio contact, and guide it out of restricted airpace.
This mission marks CAP’s 16th year as a participant in North American Aerospace Defense Command air-defense exercises designed to protect the airspace over the Super Bowl.
CAP is involved in similar exercises around the U.S. throughout the year to test airspace security. The air-defense exercises are carried out as part of Operation Noble Eagle, coordinated by the Continental U.S. NORAD Region. The exercises are conducted in coordination with the FAA and other interagency organizations as appropriate.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited with saving an average of 80 lives annually.
CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.