14:06 PM

Minn. Wing Flying in Super Bowl Intercept Exercise

A demonstration of an airplane flying into restricted Super Bowl airspace will be held Jan. 30, five days before the big game, with Minnesota Air National Guard F-16s intercepting a Cessna from Civil Air Patrol’s Minnesota Wing.

“CAP airplanes are used throughout the year to assist the Air Force with training to protect the skies across the country,” said Col. James Garlough, commander of the Minnesota Wing. “We’re going to show the media how it will be done on Feb. 4 around U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis during Super Bowl LII.”

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration routinely implements no-fly zones, called Temporary Flight Restrictions, around major events to ensure no general aviation airplanes enter for a specified radius. Air Force fighters enforce the TFRs during the event.

The demonstration, hosted by the Minnesota Guard’s148th Fighter Wing at Duluth Air National Guard Base, will simulate an aircraft that enters the no-fly zone around the Super Bowl being intercepted. Air Force pilots will fly alongside the CAP plane, make radio contact and guide it out of restricted airspace.

These missions mark CAP’s 17th year as a participant in North American Aerospace Defense Command air-defense exercises designed to protect the airspace over the Super Bowl. CAP is involved in similar exercises around the U.S. throughout the year to test airspace security.

The air-defense exercises are carried out as part of Operation Noble Eagle, coordinated by the Continental U.S. NORAD Region. The exercises are conducted in coordination with the FAA and other interagency organizations as appropriate.