16, Apr 2024
Who Pays For Military Flyovers at Sporting Events?

who pays for military flyovers at sporting events

Witnessing jet engines roaring across a stadium to coincide with the final notes of our national anthem can be an unforgettable sight, yet many don’t realize they come at considerable cost to American taxpayers.

Navy, Air Force and Army officials receive roughly 850 requests annually from various sporting events for fighter jets or parachute jumpers to fly over sporting events ranging from Little League opening ceremonies to minor baseball games, reported the Orlando Sentinel in 2008.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds agreed to perform a flyover before this year’s Daytona 500 at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas before flying onward to Daytona Beach, Fla. and back, for which they estimated an estimated fuel burn cost of about $80,000; an incredible sacrifice to pay for some patriotic showmanship for only minutes of showmanship.

Defense officials defend this practice of flyovers to honor fallen or wounded servicemembers and promote recruitment efforts, while some legislators and taxpayer advocates want to limit them. After more than 10 years of war in the Middle East, Army pilots even implemented a moratorium to preserve flying hours and reduce stress on their force.

But the National Guard, which conducts flyovers before each Jaguars game, insists these displays increase morale and remind the public of the military’s presence and importance to society. Furthermore, recruiters from the Guard station themselves around stadium and arrange for a high-ranking officer to address fans on video board.

Jones-Vincent of the Air Force also notes that each flyover serves as an essential training sortie: “Pilots require certain flying hours in order to remain current on their skills,” so wherever possible, military leaders use time required for flyovers as part of this requirement.

As such, the Air Force does not expect sports teams or leagues to cover the costs associated with flights that are included in a squadron’s prebudgeted flight schedule. However, should they require additional fuel be purchased (say during an area of scarcity), this might change.

Air Force and other service branches also offer other ways to boost morale and inspire patriotism at events like parades, public displays, static aircraft or ground demonstrations. While such events don’t tend to be as costly or dramatic, they still require extensive planning and rehearsal before their deployment along with significant equipment and personnel deployment as well as travel costs for servicemen involved.

People don’t go to sporting events to see military aircraft flying above, nor are these brief patriotic displays providing any additional revenue for teams or leagues; thus raising questions as to whether taxpayers should foot the bill for this type of militaristic grandstanding at sports events?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *