FAA Investigates Police Helicopter Flight


The FAA is investigating an incident in which a police helicopter was used in an effort to disperse a large tailgate party that took place before a Penn State vs. Ohio State football game at Penn State University’s Beaver Stadium last weekend. As shown in the video below, a Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) helicopter flew low enough over the event to fling tents and debris into the air. According to authorities, the crowd of several hundred had gotten out of hand and become a risk to people and property.

“The crowd began to turn unruly and two PSP horses were assaulted and a trooper was injured,” said a statement by the Pennsylvania State Police. “Following this incident, the Pennsylvania State Police Aviation Unit was called to assist. A helicopter was utilized to issue commands to disperse via loudspeaker. When personnel on scene noticed the helicopter was low enough to disturb items on the ground, the helicopter pulled up to a higher altitude.”

Concerns were quickly raised about safety and legality of the operation, and a complaint was made to the FAA. The agency did not say how long it expects its investigation to take. Penn State University issued a statement on Tuesday saying that it will not be using helicopters for crowd-related announcements at its football stadium until after an assessment has been completed.