Fly-over Thursday

Thanks to the Chamber of Commerce for passing along this information so we needn't have our annual heart attack when Chapel Hill is invaded by noisy, low-flying military planes:

Our F-15's have had a change in their schedule and will be arriving in
Chapel Hill this Thursday (Nov. 16th) for their practice runs. The time will remain the same - between 3-4pm. PLEASE pass this information along to anyone who needs to be kept in the loop. Let me know if you have any questions.

Again, F-15 practice runs will take place over Kenan this Thursday between 3-4 pm.


Michael Beale
Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing
University of North Carolina Athletics

I must admit, I still don't get why they need to do this in the middle of our busy town. Don't they have military bases for this kind of thing?


Total votes: 149


Mark M., the politicians seem to be saying that what they hear the majority of the "people" telling them is not the same as your take. Looking at the current situation through the lens of our constitutional history, securing an impeachment and a conviction would be next to impossible, even in the Democrat-controlled 110th Congress.

Those of us in the stadium when the fly over occurred witnessed a rousing response to the jets as they flew from the NW to the SE over Kenan Stadium. When the pilots and their support team arrived at the stadium in the 3d qtr., they were enthusiastically welcomed - until one of them pulled out his NC State-Wolf Pack flag. Then there was plenty of well-deserved booing!

I just heard the roar & it got me thinking again about the "sounds of freedom" and "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here" and the soldiers who have fought and died "to protect our freedoms".

So with all that sacred blood shed to defend our way of life and the government which helps provide it, don't we owe it to the service members who have sacrificed so much in the defense of our Constitution and political system to impeach a President who has so clearly violated the laws which protect our freedom and way of life? In fact, if we do not impeach him, are we not making a mockery of those who have fought and/or died for our rights and laws?

I was on Weaver Street Lawn during the flyover. I was watching my 5-year-old my daughter run across the lawn. The planes came over and she looked up suddenly and clutched her hands to her ears and looked toward me in total confusion. For a brief moment, her running reminded me that children in other countries run from American made bombers for reasons other than just the loud sound.

It's not working. I still walk (nearly) that distance every morning. :)

I live in West Durham near Erwin Rd and had no clue or warning that they were practicing for Saturday. They flew right over the Hope Creek and Garrett Farms neighborhoods around 3:30ish I think? Scared the living daylights out of me and my family. It sounded like a 747 was about to crash into the house. Not funny at all. I don't care what your opinions are regarding our military but in a post 9/11 environment doing fly bys over residential neighborhoods with no warning is just d*mn stupid. Doing flyovers at packed football stadiums is even worse. I respect our armed forces and appreciate what they do but park the damn thing until it's needed. The excuse that they are logging required flight time is fine but at least have the common sense to do it over less populated areas.

Jason, Carrboro history tells us that the campus and the railroad depot (West End) were sited a mile apart for cultural, not noise-related, reasons. The story goes that students arriving by rail had to hoof the the last mile under their own steam in a sort of initiation process designed to keep out the riffraff.

I was on Franklin Street. Here's what I heard:

And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devils bargain
And weve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

-Joni Mitchell

A bit too idealistic for some, I know.

I was giving a presentation to my planning class tonight on the evolution of the transportation infrastructure in Carrboro. One of the supposed original reasons for siting the railroad so far from campus was that the noise of a train would disturb us studious folks.

Oh, the irony.

The sound of freedom!

Imperial porno

I had the same reactions, with the addition that
they were flying subsonic yet still made an
awesome amount of noise.

They flew right over the house in precise formation, and I flew outside to watch. The second and third passes were identical to the first. Gives whole new meaning to the expression, "Heard it a mile away." At that speed, a mile is now!

Whatever my feelings on the poor message our community sends by inviting this demonstration, it's still amazing to watch $ 1/2 billion of hardware fly, wingtip to wingtip, a couple hundred feet above your head, like bats out of hell.

I had an excellent vantage to observe the flight from mid-block Church St. Killer gear against a Carolina Blue sky...powerfully strange...

I just saw and heard the flyby, then had to come in and find out what it was. It is a terrifying, visceral experience. If any good comes out of this, it is to remind people of the terror of war.

The just flew over my house in Carrboro and scared the crap out of me, again. At least I remembered the reason from the last time they scared the crap out of me. I checked here to confirm. thanks OP!

Lisa Hoppenjans, Staff Writer
CHAPEL HILL - Today [Nov. 16], Juan Antonio and Rosal'a Martinez are preparing to bury their son, who was killed in Iraq.
In two months, another son will leave for his first tour of duty there.

Duncan, a similar feeling occurs to me whenever I visit the
USS North Carolina or any other warship. The shallow
impression is that the ship is a great big toy, fun for kids
to climb on and through, an ultimate jungle gym.
But reality is that it is a giant machine designed and built to kill
people, efficiently and in great quantity.

Coming in late, will keep remarks brief:

I've always hated flyovers, because they don't show these weapons doing what they're supposed to be doing. What they ought to do is drop some ordinance (someplace safe) so that the gathered can see and feel the cruel power of it, and imagine its effect on flesh, particularly their own. It's a scrubbed, idealized version of what those aircraft do, and in presenting it in this way, obscure the truth of war and of death. For the very same reason that I welcome a recruiting station in our community -- something to reckon with every day, some tangible reminder of the awful burden shouldered by so many other communities, some part of the war that is here -- I loathe flyovers because they obscure and shelter us from the truth, encouraging us to mistake spectacle for beauty.

My point was about setting an example, not whether practice low-level maneuvers (like bombing runs) over stadiums full of folks is legitimate or not.

But since you bring it up...

Spurred by Fred's earlier comments I did a bit more research on the utility of this "dual-use" performance. And, actually, the AF is concerned about costs and is moving to simulation:

Air Combat Command estimates that it costs about $12,000 an hour to fly an F-15; however, four pilots in F-15 simulators can practice at a cost of $2,400 an hour. As part of the skill upgrade program for new F-15 pilots, the command allows 20 percent of a pilot's first 500 hours of F-15 “flight time” to be flown in simulators.

The Air Force wants to boost the use of aircraft simulators as a way to spend less money on fuel and reduce wear and tear on aircraft. Eventually, simulators would be available for all the service's aircraft models and the simulators would be linked so a pilot in an A-10 Thunderbolt simulator could — in a virtual world — fly in tandem with a CV-22 Osprey flown by a crew in a simulator.

Of course, as the article points out, the GAO determined the procurement budget for these services was screwed up.

So, yeah, this combat run over a crowd of folks could be part of the pilots legitimate live practice but it could also be above-and-beyond the requirements.

Still, at 4 x $12K x ??? hours for a 60 second run, I don't feel too bad questioning the use of resources.

The complaints are as legitimate and - as American - as the flights.

Fred, I think it's worth noting again because it hasn't been very explicitly called out this time around -- the practice Thursday is for the run on Saturday, which is also a practice for the pilots' mission of flying in defense of our country.

Whether the flight on Saturday (and Thursday) happens in Chapel Hill, NC or over some empty field in Chatham County, they are legitimate flights. And the complaints to the contrary aren't really legit.


I heard an interesting term on Stephanie Miller this morning. She was featuring a silly new anti-Hummer website and in the discussion, they talked about the militarization of culture.

That's what bothers me about the continuing celebration of war machines. Especially now that Bush has decimated our moral standing ... all we have left is military might.

Back at Annapolis, we had flyovers all the time at football games. It made sense to me because they were the Blue Angels and we were the Navy. Maybe we should have a rocket-propelled Tarheel Ram flying over the stadium.

Will, we are not going to agree, I guess, and that's fine. We are not as a nation spending "extra" money to have those jets fly here - it's a training mission.

As for food stamps, you need to know that the reason is pretty simple: the pay scale was not set to support lower ranking soldiers who had families, hence they qualify for the program. In none of the four unit that I commanded did I ever have a private or corporal with a wife and three kids; this is new and it came with the volunteer force AND the lack of jobs in other sectors. Back in the day, I as a commander had to give soldiers under a certain rank permission to marry. If they did so without permission, they received no benefits. Those days are gone.

As for the VA, the quality of the care has improved over the years in certain facilities but not in others. The Durham facility is top shelf. Having the Duke Medical School and Medical Center adds to their capability. Not having seen the situation during the Carter years, I believe that the comparison is flawed. Today, we have 1,200 WWII vets dying every day in this country. Many WWII vets (in their 80s) are in the VA system and it takes resources to care for these men and women. We are now experiencing an unprecedented number of battlefield survivors because of the advances in combat medicine and evac capabilities. Funding must increase to support these new vets while continuing to take care of all the others.

It's easy to think that not spending a dollar here means a dollar that can be spent over there, but sadly, it just doesn't work that way. And remember, the president proposes and the Congress disposes. Will the situation change in the 110th? Don't bet your kid's tuition money!


You're right in those comments - when viewed from the perspective of pure business practice there are some good reeasons why they would want to connect with the local business community. I had one of those moments I always criticize in others such as when liberals call for hate speech to be criminalized and forget that chipping away at constitutional rights cuts both ways.

To me, the recruiting office represents the presence in our community of a dangerous and deadly threat to world, national, and comunity security. I wouldn't want to belong to an organization that would have them as a member. But, on the other hand, maybe the Foundation for a Sustainable Community can help them hook into the local recycling program and they - and Carolina North -can be a part of the Greening of Chapel Hill. I guess I'm just starting to feel my age and the wisdom that comes with it.

For a practical future,

The question, Fred, isn't whether we're a great country, the question is "can we be a greater country?"

To simply assert we're "great" is to assert we're done - and we're not. The promise and potential of this democracy had been barely tapped... iniquities not only exist, they've broadened. Instead of being a net exporter of life, we're a gross exporter of death. We have a champagne and cavier diet financed on the backs of future generations. And we're talking "PR multipliers" when, quite frankly, we should be trying to get our troop's families off of food stamps.

Isn't there more honor in that, Fred?

So, are we great? Compared to what? What we can, and I hope will, be or compared to what's come before?

As far as the prostheses issue, I'll refer you to the recent statements by Paul Morin, National Commander, American Legion.


The American Legion believes that VA's focus in research should remain on understanding and improving treatment for conditions that are unique to veterans. The Global War on Terrorism is predicted to last at least two more decades.

Service members are surviving catastrophically disabling blast injuries due to the superior armor they are wearing in the combat theater and the timely access to quality triage. The unique injuries sustained by the new generation of veterans clearly demand particular attention. It has been reported that VA does not have state-of-the-art prostheses like DoD, and that the fitting of the prostheses for women has presented problems due to their smaller stature.

In addition, The American Legion supports adequate funding for other VA research activities, including basic biomedical research as well as bench-to-bedside projects. Congress and the Administration should encourage acceleration in the development and initiation of needed research on conditions that signifi cantly aff ect veterans - such as prostate cancer, addictive disorders, trauma and wound healing, post-traumatic stress disorder, rehabilitation, and others jointly with DoD, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), other federal agencies, and academic institutions.

BTW, I know the VA has made great strides in providing excellent care - and has led the way with innovative practices, like their pharmaceutical system, that for-profit operations are emulating.

Fred, as a long time observer of the system, do you think the basic level of care has improved? What's it like in comparison to the Carter years?

Because they will be a "business" here. Because they will pay rent here, Because they will purchase from local businesses. Because they desire the benefits that I and all of the other members receive as members.

I guess it's wrong to try to be a part of the community.

Well James, with the same due respect, those planes are going to fly here, there or somewhere. But is this a great country or what?

More info on obscene & destabilizing weapons profit-making:

At what point do we as a community have the collective gumption to forego the easy "go-along, get-along", so-called practical approach & take the courageous stand for an alternative future to the failed military-centric national philospohy.

I see that the U.S. Armed Forces has joined the local Chamber of Commerce for the new recruiting station. This makes my brain slide over to one side of my head as I try to understand the connection to local business, but at least it helps insulate them from criticism by the Chamber & affiliates.

As the largest arms-dealing country in the world, the US share of advanced weaponry has grown in recent years, now topping $23 billion in foreign sales. And that doesn't begin to include small arms and ammunition which don't have Congressional oversight. To put it bluntly, war is big business - and it is one of America's principal exports.

With all due respect, Fred, showcasing advanced weaponry at a football game honors nothing except the US military industrial complex. I'm with Will on this one.

Once again, Will, you answered another question, not the one I asked. Your original cheap shot, like most of them, just isn't true.

As a disabled veteran who actually uses our facility in Durham, I am not only sensitive to, but have first hand awareness of the problems in veteran funding. News flash - it didn't start with Bush and it won't be solved just because Bush leaves office.

Freedom isn't free and contrary to what some here might believe, you need a strong military if you want to remain free. Those jets and pilots will make their monthly minimums because they have to. This is training and the strategy, when and where possible, is to use training as a PR multiplier. If using some of that required training time to come to Kenan in support of UNC is doable, then so be it.

But try to remember why we are able to express our differences so publicly and even on the Internet; it's not by accident. Those men and women laying up in the VA Hospital and a host of others bought that freedom. They hate wars more than anyone and it's personal to them. Showcasing our military at a flyover honors them.

Is this a great country or what?

Yeah, nothing more perfect than $440 million worth of military hardware operating at $15-40K per hour to stir the old juices...

"...the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun..."

Maybe it's time to put aside the trappings of war Catherine and start dealing with the consequences of our country's unpleasant actions.

There are certain desirable jobs in the military. Military choirs sing at Arlington, and jazz bands march in parades in full dress. In between, they practice. The F-15 aviators have one chance to fly in perfect formation over Kenan Stadium on Saturday, on time. On Thursday they practice.

The $110M F-15E costs between $4000 to $10000 per hour to operate depending on how you factor the costs. Recently, fuel costs alone have been cited as putting readiness training in jeopardy.

So, maybe saving the $15-40K per hour this flyby will cost is pretty much symbolic, though that amount is roughly enough for two high-tech arm prosthesis, but that's OK. Why not send a clear message from the folks of NC saying "thanks, but no thanks" - reprioritize those resources elsewhere...

Fed, besides the previous $48M cuts in prosthetic research, this year's shameful Bush administration record on veteran's health and medical issues gives one pause:

Bush Proposed $10 Billion in Veterans Health Care Cuts Over Five Years. Over five years, the budget cuts funding $10.0 billion below the level the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates is needed to maintain purchasing power at the 2006 level. Almost all appropriated funding for veterans goes to provide medical care and hospital services. [House Budget Committee, Democratic Staff; 3/21/06]

Bush Tried To Impose New User Fees and Double Prescription Drug Co-Payments For Veterans -- Driving 1 Million Veterans Out of the System - For Fourth Year in a Row. For the fourth year in a row, Bush's proposed 2007 budget would more than double the co-payment charged to veterans for prescription drugs and would require some to pay a new user fee of $250 a year for health care. Bush would also increase the co-payment for a month's supply of a prescription drug from $7 to $15. Veterans' groups said that at least 200,000 veterans would be driven out of the system entirely, and this would cost veterans remaining in the system more than $2 billion over five years. [Budget of the US Government, 2/06; House Budget Committee, Democratic Staff; 3/21/06]

Bush Blocked Access to VA Health Care For Some Veterans For Third Year in a Row; Over 500,000 Locked Out of System. In 2003, the Bush Administration also suspended new enrollments by veterans in Priority Group 8, the one with the lowest statutory priority. This group includes veterans who are not being compensated for a military-related disability and who have "higher incomes," generally about $30,000 or more. The Administration estimates that 522,000 veterans will have been turned away by the end of Fiscal Year 2005 as a result of this ban. [Defense Link, 1/24/03; Senate Democratic Policy Committee, 3/17/05]

Bush 2007 Budget Cuts Medical and Prosthetic Research. The budget cuts medical and prosthetic research by $13 million below the 2006 enacted level. Among the R&D activities within this program are efforts to help new war veterans - to improve treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, blast-related injuries, and Gulf War related illness. [Budget of the US Government, 2/06; House Budget Committee, Democratic Staff; 3/21/06]

Bush 2007 Budget Cuts Funding For Nursing Homes; Leaving 28,000 Veterans Without Care. Despite growing demand for extended care in VA nursing homes, the Administration's budget request cuts $351 million from nursing homes by serving 28,000 fewer veterans. It also would significantly limit assistance to states, by cutting state nursing home grants from $114 million to $12 million. This cut would place the burden of extended care almost completely on resource-starved state governments. [Senate Democratic Policy Committee, 3/17/05]

52,000 Veterans on Waiting Lists Nationwide; Veterans Groups Believe Number is Understated. As of third quarter 2005, VA reports that 52,000 veterans are waiting to receive care at VA facilities. However, independent groups believe that ".the accuracy of reported veterans' waiting times and facility wait lists is undermined by variability in VA's compliance with outpatient scheduling procedures." [The Independent Budget, FY2007]

Facilities Are Falling Apart And Veterans Must Wait Months For Appointments. While Nicholson said VA health care has not diminished, critics say otherwise. They point to a system already in disrepair in which veterans must wait months for appointments or surgeries. At the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont, three operating rooms were closed June 27 because of a broken heating, ventilation and air conditioning system that had not been repaired because maintenance funds were used to cover the budget shortfall. San Diego VA Medical Center has delayed filling 131 vacancies on it staff. The VA medical center in Portland, OR,, is delaying non-emergency surgery for at least six months. "Right now, medical facilities are literally falling down around their patients," said Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin. [Navy Times, 7/18/05]

I think the UNC Athletic Department invited them for the Saturday football game, so the practice is for that event.

If the practice didn't occur, or if the actual didn't happen, it still would not mean that funds would be released to those things Will (and many others) would like to see better funded. Nice rhetoric, however, but I don't care who is in power, these things have and will continue to happen.

Maybe this is really a ruse - they are coming to defend the Recruiting Station on Franklin St.

Source please on which veteran is going without a prosthetic device because of lack of funding?

Once again UNC is setting a terrible example...

Yeah, these guys are "just" using their practice time to generate some good, ole down home excitement but good golly, wouldn't it make a better statement if UNC said "thanks, but we'd appreciate that while Iraqii and Afghanii civilians continue to die from a lack of medical supplies or one limbless veteran goes without a prosthetic or one troop without adequate body armor or one war widow turn to foodstamps or on and on, we the people of NC, want the resources expended on this display to be redirected towards much more humane uses..."


Those were U.S. Air Force F-15-C fighter planes, part of the 2d Fighter Squadron ("American Beagle Squadron") from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

The U. S. Navy does, however, have F-15s too.

Those were a mixed up collection of cowbirds, grackles, starlings, and redwing blackbirds. Some of those might be considered seagoing ;->

The starlings are from Europe originally.

This matter seems to come up every year on OP. Here is the email I just got from the Carrboro Fire Department:

From: Travis Crabtree
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:10 AM
To: _Group - Everyone
Subject: Fly Over

Just prior to kickoff of the UNC vs. Virginia Football game (approx. 12:05 pm) on Saturday, September 15th there will be a flyover of Kenan Stadium by three US Army Apache Helicopters.

In preparation for the flyover on Saturday, the Helicopters will perform practice runs on Thursday, September 13th sometime between 10 am and 4 pm and / or on Friday, September 14th sometime between 10 am and 4 pm depending on weather conditions for each day.

Travis L. Crabtree, Fire Chief
Town of Carrboro


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