Scaling Back

The Air Force had 3,623 requests in 2007 to perform aircraft flyovers at events ranging from professional sports games to town fairs and community parades, a 37 percent increase over the previous year. But with tightening budgets and rising fuel costs, USAF is cutting back on its flyovers, the Boston Globe reported April 8. Of the requests in 2007, the service approved 843 of them, down from 1,009 in 2006, the newspaper said. For example, some National Football League teams used to have flyovers at every home game; now they are limited to four flyovers a season. And whereas NASCAR had flyovers at 108 races four years ago, the Air Force has approved 38 this year, the newspaper reported. Still flyovers will continue to serve a valuable role as a recruiting tool. The Air Force counts flyovers as training missions. “We don’t just do a fly-by and call it a day,” said Lt. Col. Lloyd Goodrow, spokesman for the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing, which sent F-16s to perform a flyover for the Boston Red Sox’ opening day baseball game at Fenway Park April 8. “We have an extensive training plan during the day. The pilots have in-air training objectives. We don’t just generate flights for flyovers.”