Super Bowl Flyover Cost Over $450,000 . . . Even Larger Flyover Planned For Turkey Bowl

While watching the Super Bowl, I remarked to the kids on the curious concept of a flyover by Navy jets for a closed stadium where the fans watched on jumbo screens. My mirth turned to madness when I just saw on Reddit, however, that it cost the public $450,000. I am also pleased to announce the scheduled flyover (left) planned for this year’s Turley Turkey Bowl.

The Navy says the cost to bring the formation of four planes, plus a backup, to North Texas was over $450,000, based on the operational cost of the F-18 aircraft and the number of hours the pilots will fly. They came from Virginia Beach because the military decided it was better to take them from across the country rather than use the squadron of F-18 fighters at the Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, less than 20 miles from the stadium.

The Navy insists that it is good for public relations . . . for the public to see that it is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time of economic stress to fly over a closed domed stadium.

It works for me. I have completed the DD 2253 (“Request for Military Aerial Support”) form below for my own military flyover for my annual Turley Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl with children in the neighborhood. This Redskins-Bears game is a public event with considerable following.

Unlike the Super Bowl, the Turley Turkey bowl is held in an open field ideal for our flyover.

The Turley Turkey Bowl organization released the following statement:

We are delighted by the opportunity to have a flyover added our annual game watched by dozens across this suburb. While we have a squadron of F-18s located less than a mile away at Langley, we would prefer planes from Europe to perform the flyover to capture the international spirit of this event.

Note to readers: following this blog entry, the “Turley Turkey Bowl” will be trademarked. However, you may continue to refer to it as the “Big Game in McLean” or simply “The Event Formerly Known As The Turley Turkey Bowl.”

Here is our form: DD2535-Aviation
Source: KHOU.

Jonathan Turley

43 thoughts on “Super Bowl Flyover Cost Over $450,000 . . . Even Larger Flyover Planned For Turkey Bowl

  1. Nice to see they got a Concorde out of retirement and the RAF Red Arrows – our armed forces really could do with that $450K. Thanks!

  2. This is so crazy it is almost hilarious! I think the NFL should remiburse the taxpayers for those costs. Prof. Turley, let me be the first to request the concession rights to the annual Turley Turkey Bowl! I think it would be fair that the Turley Turkey Bowl Organization should receive 10% of all sales!

  3. I have been pissed off for years at these flyovers at sporting events. What is the point save for some dimwits believing that itwill increase recruitment and the need to co-mingle a phony patriotism with the particular sport receiving this large, expensive favor. If we get to the S-Bowl (no trademark infringement)Did anyone else notice the militaristic/jingoistic
    tenor to the proceedings, such as pictures of the troops in Afghanistan watching the game.

    I identify with the troops even though I was 4F during Viet Nam. They are for the most part patriotic, self-sacrificing young people, idealistically believing in their country. That they have been used cruelly, were killed and maimed (psychologically & physically)in four unnecessary wars, is without doubt. Adding these horrific insults to injury they return to the country,in need of medical/psychological/social services, only to face red tape and rejection. Every right Wing political SOB who intones support for our troops and then doesn’t work to get good programs funded, is an insensitive deceiver. This goes for many average Americancitizens, who support our troops in the abstract, but not in relity.

    That is why I’m sickened by these “patriotic” sports displays, feeding the corporate maw, yet dripping hypocrisy.

  4. Well said Mike.

    How about the DoD announce that they’re cancelling flyovers and spending that money on those who are wounded?

    I don’t believe that JT will actually submit DD2535 for the TT-Bowl.

  5. Bob,
    You are right about the “turkey drop”! That was a hilarious scene.
    Mike S.
    Well said as usual. I don’t have a problem with a flyover at big events if the costs are reasonable. I realize it can be a good advertisement for the Air Force, but why don’t they require a fee from the NFL to do this at the most expensive sports event that we have? What was the cost for a 30 second commercial?

  6. Watching those fly-overs has always left me feeling that this is an “only in America” experience, where a military is bankrupting the country, but we have half a mil for PR… and to me, it is negative PR, especially in a domed stadium…Thanks for getting us the details.

  7. I am curious as to whether this is more of a bookkeeping issue than an extra expense. I assume the pilots routinely fly for training or tactical and strategic reasons, and if so, was flying over Texas was just a change in location.

  8. I grew up going to watch the Blue Angels perform at base shows…I’d much rather they do this than drop bombs….plus, they ARE our planes afterall….

  9. This needs to be discussed

    LONDON — A man with a low IQ has been banned from sex by a judge who said the case raised questions about civil liberties, The Telegraph newspaper reported.
    The 41-year-old man, known as Alan, has an IQ of 48 and a moderate learning disability, the newspaper reported. Alan was living with a man and having sex with him.

    His local council decided that his “vigorous sex drive” was not appropriate and he didn’t understand what he was doing, the Telegraph reported.

    High Court Justice Nicholas Mostyn agreed that Alan did not have the mental capacity to understand the health risks and should not have sex with anyone. The judge’s order put Alan under the local authority that provides his housing.
    Still, the judge called the case “legally, intellectually and morally” complex and said the court must “tread especially carefully” when the state tries to curtail such a basic human function as sex.

    The case began in June 2009, when the local council started court proceedings to restrict Alan’s contact with the man, identified as Kieron. Alan has been prevented since then from sexual activity, except when he’s alone, the Telegraph’s report said.

    In Britain, the Court of Protection can make decisions for people deemed to lack the intelligence to make them themselves. These people can be ordered to undergo surgery, have abortion, be forced to use contracteption — even have life support switched off.

    Alan was described as “sociable” but “seriously challenged in all aspects of his mental functionality.” He had been accused of making lewd gestures at children, but no police action was taken, the Telegraph said.

  10. I see nothing strange about having military jets flying over what will probably become one of the FEMA internment camps being planned in secret by our government. I’d be uneasy if we didn’t have some military air support.

    Michele Bachmann wasn’t going to fill out her census form because some group might be sent to an internment camp. Glen Beck was going to investigate the FEMA internment camps, but decided to debunk them instead (it’s hoped his listeners heard both broadcasts). And that upset Alex Jones at Prison Planet.

    “Glenn Beck, the seasoned operative, never intended a serious exposé. He planned to make those of us who know FEMA camps exist look like fools and churls.”


  11. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Can you speed up the Turkey bowl to this Saturday and move it to San Diego?

    Largest military flyover since WWII planned
    By Jeanette Steele, UNION-TRIBUNE

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 12:12 p.m.

    Curtiss TS-2 floatplanes fly above North Island and the aircraft carrier Langley, circa 1926. (Naval History and Heritage Command)
    The Navy has announced a special air show — including a massive flyover of San Diego Bay by more than 150 aircraft — to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of naval aviation.

    “It is expected to be the largest aerial flyover since World War II and the largest in San Diego since November, 1918,” said Lt. Cmdr. Alli Myrick-Ellison, a Navy spokeswoman in Coronado.

    The Navy is billing the show as a once-in-a-lifetime event that will allow the public to see the aircraft in flight from vantage points all around the bay.

    The show, slated for Feb. 12 at North Island Naval Air Station, kicks off what will be a yearlong effort to mark the start of the Navy’s foray into the air.

    The free event will also include a timeline-like display of aircraft from vintage planes to the newest fighter jets.

    It’s also your chance to see inside a $4 billion Navy flattop.

    Tours of Navy aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships will be offered, along with a tactical demonstration by Marine aircraft and ground equipment.

  12. Why so much? An Orlando Sentinel story from 2008 had the cost of flyovers at between $40-$80,000. Inflation hitting the DOD that badly?

  13. rafflaw

    It makes more sense, at least. I heard they did a fly-over of the 100th anniversary celebration of Ronald Reagan’s birth – I guess that, also, is more sensible than this.

  14. Professor, I love your blog, but your criticism rings a bit hollow. The participants of this military flyover, like all military flyovers, are US Armed Forces pilots. Each one of those pilots have minimum flight-time requirements. That is to say, that each pilot must be in airborne operation of their aircraft for a minimum number of hours each month.

    These flyovers count toward those minimum qual time hours. If they weren’t flying over a stadium, they’d be punchin’ holes in the air someplace else. To the participants, the operate it just like they would a combat sortie – it is, for all practical purposes, just another training op – an op that looks “neat” to the crowd below. That’s all.

  15. i live in daytona and we get flyovers for the 500 too.

    i grew up on air force bases and joined the navy when i graduated high school. i write this because i’m resonably certain they don’t just use whoever needs the flying time in a particular aircraft to pilot the flyovers. at least i hope they don’t run training opps at 300 ft over large crowds.

  16. Pretty sure those were Air Force jets and there’s no way that dollar figure is accurate. Consider the source of your evidence.

    Whether military jets should be flying over sporting events is an argument that stands on its own — no hyperbole required.

    Be reasonable. Please.

  17. Back in the ’80s Congress held hearings on waste in th military. I remember listening to 3 Navy admirals testify before committee on how they were looking for ways large and small to save money. Meanwhile, a Navy captain stood in the back & held the admirals hats while they testified . . . a Captain at the time made something around $100k/year. He was a hat rack for $50/hr.

  18. Thanks Frank, I will add the request for a Navy Captain hat rack to our demand for a flyover at the Turkey Bowl.

  19. “at least i hope they don’t run training opps at 300 ft over large crowds.”~pete
    oh my, I never thought of that!
    most excellent point…..!

  20. Professor Turley’s blog entry about the Super Bowl fly-over appears to be a great example of wasted military spending. But the facts suggest otherwise. It is true that the operational cost of the flight was $450,000. This cost, however, was paid for with unit training funds.

    Navy and Air Force pilots are required to fly a certain number of hours each month. The duration of these flights can vary. Depending on the type of training, some flights might last an hour or less, while others could last an entire day. Contrary to what you might see on television or in the movies, most military pilots do not spend their training hours conducting mock battles in the sky. Rather, the vast majority of flights are routine cross-country missions. The $450,000 spent to fly over Dallas is irrelevant. A similar training flight lasting the same number of hours would have cost exactly the same.

  21. “Professor Turley’s blog entry about the Super Bowl fly-over appears to be a great example of wasted military spending. But the facts suggest otherwise.”

    I think you miss the point of this, it’s not really the money that compared to the Pentagon’s budget is infinitessimal.
    The problem I have with it is the phony patriotism displayed by Sports in general and their phony expressions of support for the troops. If we really supported out American Armed Forces, we would ensure that they are very well taken care of medically/psychologically/financially when they return home and while they are in harms way.

    Remember Iraq where peoples friends and family had to scrape up the money to supply them with effective body armor, since the DOD wasn’t? How about the nine or more soldiers electrocuted in faulty showers? I could go on and on with examples, but that would be overload. When I see these sporting attempts to “support the troops” it sickens me. This is because I really do support the troops and relate to the pain, dedication and courage that they display, only to be thrown away carelessly in needless wars and to be treated shabbily when they return home.

  22. Mr. Turley,

    I commend to you and your readers (and students) the post by Jamie McIntyre, former CNN Senior Pentagon reporter and Adjunct Professor, of Journalism at the University of Maryland.

    He discusses the difference between inflaming public opinion through tabloid journalism, where he uses you as exhibit one, and informing public opinion where you, in his opinion, fall noticably short.

    Awaiting to see your direct dilalogue with Mr. McIntyre regarding this on his site.

  23. “Jamie McIntyre, former CNN Senior Pentagon reporter and Adjunct Professor, of Journalism at the University of Maryland.”

    So am I supposed to be impressed with this guy and his opinions. Since one of them was that the SB did not overdo militarism in it’s presentation, he’s wrong. I was quite disturbed by the phony patriotism being displayed there. Phony because the US talks a great game about supporting the troops and then kills and maims them in unneeded wars. Finally adding insult to injury by not taking care of them when they get home.
    The major Pentagon and DOD leaders are as guilty of this, as is Congress. Commercial enterprise encourages these wars so they can make money selling deficient equipment and hires former Generals to flack for them.

    Even if the flyover cost nothing, what the the purpose of flying planes in from Virginia to fly over a domed stadium?

  24. Mr. Spindell,

    McIntyre’s bone fides were for those whose TV consumption relegates them to being uniformed as to his credentials since his opinions are introduced to the discussion

    As a note, I wonder if you too are a lawyer because as the axiom goes, “When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts are against you, argue the law. When both are against you, attack the plaintiff.” Or is it, “When the facts are with you, pound the facts, When the law is with you pound the law. When neither are with you, pound the table” ? Or in logic, the rebuttle is “ignoratio elenchi” or red herring.

    In either case, the story, and I use that in the sense of literature and fiction, is that the $450k was some new unplanned cost. War encouraging jingoism was not.

    As I encouraged Mr Turley, please engage Mr McIntyre on his page. Dialogue is good.

  25. Mr. Goose,
    If you simply scroll up this thread you will find that I have been consistent in my lack of interest in the cost of the flyover. My point is and has always been that the flyover was unnecessary in a domed stadium and that there was a militaristic/jingoistic subtext to the SB, which was inappropriate and phony, given the country’s only giving lip service to supporting the truth. I read Mr. McIntyre’s column on his website and was unpersuaded by his arguments and viewpoint which I think was shallow.

  26. This fly over cost nothing to the tax payers- Amateur reporting and ignorance leads to false information. The Navy has a annual budget that includes flight hours for all pilots. This fly over, like all fly overs fit within the Navy’s budget. There is no additional cost to the tax payer. If you think the Defense Department budget is too big or the US spends too much on training its fighter pilots, then take that up with your congressmen and your President. The budgeted amount of flight time which equates to fuel and maintenance costs are fixed prices that are a cost of operation. The taxpayers don’t have to shell out extra money because they choose to use those flight hours during a fly over at a sporting event. Don’t contribute to the ignorance

  27. Thanks for spending the time to go over this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you gain more expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is very helpful for me. Big thumbs up for this blog post!

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