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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. “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?

  5. 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.

  6. “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.

  7. Heck prof, for $50/hr I’ll put on a Pirates of the Penzance get up and hold your hat!

  8. 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.

  9. I bet that the Muppets work for cheaper…


  10. “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…..!

  11. 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.

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  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. Charles G.,
    If the facts of this case are as stated then methinks the moron in the court wasn’t Alan.

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