And Pass Over Stadium Makes For A Useful Training Mission
Mastering precise timing over the target is crucial to effective
aerial bombing... and it's said that practice makes perfect. But
this training flight of a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was not a
typical sortie, and the target was certainly not an enemy -- it was
Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos football team.
The Denver Westword reports even the timing was perfect...
making the first home game of the season extra-special, with the
flyover right at the end of the National Anthem.
The last visit by a B-2 to a Denver Broncos game was three years
ago, and efforts to entreat the Stealth Bomber to return had gone
unrewarded until last Sunday. Teresa Shear, the Director of
Cheerleaders and Game Day Entertainment said, "We apply for it
every year, but it's a very hard plane to get."
Fortunately, a Broncos season-ticket holder -- who is also an
employee of B-2 manufacturer Northrop Grumman -- was able to lend a
hand, in the form of some helpful influence to set up the repeat
Arranging such a flyover is no mean feat, even with inside help.
Permission must be requested first from the FAA, then the Pentagon,
and lastly from the bomber's Air Force unit... a process that
requires submitting some 60 forms and the patience for months of
Flying to Denver from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, the
B-2 undoubtedly burned a hefty gulp of jet fuel... but other than
springing for travel costs for the US Air Force ground crew that
assists with the flight, there was no cost to the Broncos.
Not wasting the fuel or the opportunity, the Air Force views the
flight as a training mission. Shear said,"It helps them with timing
on targets. Right at the end of the National Anthem, the bomber
needs to be right over the top of the stadium."
Gee... can we arrange a B-2 flyover for the next ANN staff
party? Not likely. "It's just not gonna happen," Shear quipped.