Air Force Pilot Gives Up Wings After Flyover

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It was Nov. 20 at the University of Iowa and a pre-game flyover to remember, in part because it was flown at nearly 400 knots and cleared the football stadium's press box by about 16 feet, according to FAA radar records. The four T-38 Talon jets were led by Major Christopher Kopacek, previously of the 25th Flying Training Squadron. In exchange for his cooperation in a legal agreement with the Air Force, Kopacek bypassed a court-martial and received non-judicial punishment. He also submitted a request to give up his wings (an action still pending) and depart the Air Force -- a decision he apparently made prior to the flyover.

Kopacek was planning to leave the Air Force shortly after the flyover, the Air Force Times reported. The flyover actually delayed his departure and also cost him two months' pay. The military found that the Major's flight violated Articles 92 and 107B of the Uniform Code of Military justice. Basically, Kopacek was faulted for exceeding appropriate speeds, both when practicing the maneuver and during the flyover itself. He flew within 1,000 feet of the structure, did not report the flight deviations to a superior or provide a written account within 24 hours, and then made a false statement to investigators, according to an official release from Vance Air Force Base. The findings were supported by radar records solicited from the FAA. Some action was taken against all members involved in the flight.