Friday, January 23, 2015

Arizona Civil Air Patrol helps Air Force protect Super Bowl 49



Not only will Valley roads be busy in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, it's going to be pretty busy up in the skies as well.

A crush of private planes will be headed into town and the military will be keeping a close on those that venture to close to University of Phoenix Stadium on game day.

There will be a TFR, or temporary flight restriction in place for eight and a half hours around University of Phoenix Stadium before and after the game. It will extend out from the stadium 10 miles in all directions.

Today, the Arizona Wing of the Civil Air Patrol teamed up with their Air Force friends for an exercise on how to keep unwanted aircraft away.

You don't often see a Cessna fly tandem with an F-16, but in Tucson today military leaders held a crucial practice run for pilots from the 162nd Fighter Wing based out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

"Our aircraft actually was a target," said Lt. Col Lori Raska from the Civil Air Patrol. "It simulated a plane under stress or duress."

The Civil Air Patrol is often involved in search and rescue or recovery operations. Its main objective is to support the U.S. Air Force.

"The Air Force will be actively involved in securing the airspace and this practice today gave them opportunity for the Super Bowl for security," said Lt. Col. Raska.

Just like when a plane wanders too close to the White House, there will be strict rules about flying near University of Phoenix stadium on game day.

Today's exercise went through how the fighter pilots are supposed to handle a plane that isn't following the rules.

Virtually every Valley airport is affected by the temporary flight restrictions. Civil Air Patrol members will visit each of those airports with flyers for pilots to keep everyone on the same page.

Today's training was part of a military operation known as Operation Noble Eagle. That's a mission established by NORAD after 9/11 to secure the skies over America.

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