Air Force Pilots Punished After Flyby
A variety of sources report that six US Air Force pilots were punished over the 20 November 2010 flyby of the Iowa-Ohio State football game. (Four flew the aircraft, two acted as ground coordinators.) Soon after the event, it emerged the pilots may have been below required minimum altitudes.
The flight lead of the four-ship of T-38s, Maj Chris Kopacek, reportedly agreed to a deal including a reprimand and a voluntary removal from flight status to avoid a court martial. He also signed a waiver of his privacy rights, allowing the Air Force to publicize its response to his actions. From the Associated Press:
The jets cleared the scoreboard by 58 feet, and their altitude of 176 feet above ground level was far lower than the 1,000-foot minimum elevation required for flights above a populated area such as a stadium, the Air Force investigation concluded. The jets also approached speeds of 400 knots, above the limit of 300, during both the flyover and practice runs the day before, the investigation found.
Flight leader Maj. Christopher Kopacek violated not only speed and altitude rules, but failed to document and report to superiors altitude and speed deviations from the flight plan, and made a false statement during the investigation, the Air Force said.