Four A-10C pilots grounded after “buzzing” buildings in Charlotte

The A-10 pilots whose low pass over the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina incurred a FAA complaint will be grounded, according to the US Air Force.

According to a press release from the USAF 23rd Wing’s public affairs at Moody AFB, GA, Four A-10C Thunderbolt II’s from the 74th Fighter Squadron took took off from Charlotte Douglas

International Airport, North Carolina at approximately 11:30 a.m. Monday, flying over the Bank of America Stadium at low altitude.

The incident occurred during a practice game for the Carolina Panthers, causing a stir among individuals on the ground.

“Oh yeah, we most certainly were caught off-guard. You kind of see everybody wondering what’s going on,” said Coach Ron Rivera, whose father had served in the Army.  Rivera said the flyover was “pretty awesome. I really appreciated that. I like the fact that they waved at us as they went over.”

However, not everyone was so amused. Some Charlotte locals complained- including Charlotte Douglas International Airport, who along with the FAA claim the pilots were in violation of regulations that require planes to fly 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle unless they are conducting an official stadium flyover.

As of right now, the pilots of the A-10s have been restricted from flight duties pending the results of the inquiry.

“As professional Airmen we take aviation safety very seriously,” said Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander. “As we look into the circumstances of this incident we are working with the FAA to ensure both civil and military aviation instructions were complied with.”

The 74th Fighter Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group is a direct descendant of the original “Flying Tigers” that helped liberate China from Japanese occupation during World War II. The 23rd group are known for their distinctive “shark’s mouth” nose art on their A-10s, making them the only USAF aircraft authorized to carry the historical markings.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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