In Defense of Military Flyovers

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


This is a little late on the draw considering the speed of the current news cycle, but last week Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were caught on hot mics complaining about military flyovers at a Tampa Bay game.

Redstate reporter Mike Miller covered the incident:

“That’s a lot of jet fuel just to do a little flyover,” Aikman said.

“That’s your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work,” Buck sarcastically replied, in his purposely-exaggerated “announcer voice.”

“That stuff ain’t happening with the Kamala-Biden ticket, I’ll tell you that right now, partner,” Aikman assured Buck.

A listener of mine who is also a Navy wife took a bit of umbrage to the remark, and contacted me to explain the deal with the military flyovers and why they aren’t adding any extra burdens to our tax base. I really had no idea it worked this way, and I think a lot of people don’t know this either. It seemed like a good idea to share it with our readers.

Just saw that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were mocking military flyovers at the Tampa Bay game. So I thought I’d do a PSA.

In defense of military flyovers: With few exceptions, flyovers are an extremely cost effective marketing and recruiting tool for the military, and anyone telling you otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Not to mention they provide some nice entertainment for the general public.

But jets cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate. To do so for a two minute event is wasteful!

Oh, the pilots are only in the jet to do a two minute event? They don’t maybe do the flyover real quick and then go do some actual training to max out their time in the jet and kill multiple birds with one stone? Without refueling, an F/A-18 usually flies about 1.5hrs per flight, give or take. You better believe they’re going take advantage of the opportunity. And flyovers add zero costs to the taxpayer. That money was going to be spent on flying time regardless of whether a flyover took place or not.

The general public likely isn’t aware of this, but military pilots are flying far fewer hours now than they were 15-20 years ago (although it’s gotten a bit better since 2017). It’s gotten to the point where time in the aircraft has gotten so low, that it’s had a big impact on proficiency and retention. To be proficient and stay proficient, pilots need to fly. Any time in the jet is worthwhile.

So when the Navy or Air Force gets asked to do a flyover of your sporting event? Be grateful! You get to see something awesome and those pilots are getting much needed time flying their aircraft.

Makes sense to me.

God bless America and God bless our men and women patrolling our skies.