The U.S. Navy is hoping to put into context the cost and the purpose of the flyover of four F-18 fighter jets on Super Bowl Sunday.
Many in the media quoted a $450,000 cost to taxpayers for the flyover over the closed Cowboys Stadium.
The number was arrived at by Dallas TV reporter Byron Harris of WFAA who reported that the cost breakdown was based on the operational cost of the aircraft combined with the time it took the pilots, who flew from Virginia to Texas, to fly the mission. Harris provided the information given to him by the Air Force to CNBC.
But Mike Maus, deputy public affairs officer for the Naval Air Force’s Atlantic division, told CNBC that he isn't aware of the specific tables that Harris obtained. He says that the only cost of the trip that the Navy records is the fuel cost, which was $109,000.
Maus also said he thought the press was mischaracterizing some aspects of the flyover.
“These missions are included in the annual operating budget of all branches of the military and they are used as training,” Maus said. “There was no additional money provided to us, Congress did not cut us a special check to do this flyover. This is considered a training mission whether they were to fly over the Super Bowl or not.”
Maus said the flyovers actually provide pilots with essential training needed for missions including instrumentation and communication practice.
Maus also said that the money is well spent because it helps the military recruit.
“I can’t put a specific dollar attributed to what we did on Sunday, but we know we gained some recruiting points,” Maus said.
He addressed criticism directed towards the fact that the maneuver was performed while the stadium roof was closed.
“Everyone in the stadium saw it on the big television screen and everyone else saw it their TV,” Maus said. “From an exposure standpoint it was huge for us.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the NFL promises to show the planes and give them exposure in return for the operation, which is among thousands of flyover requests submitted to the Department of Defense. The only Super Bowl that did not have a flyover was Super Bowl I in 1967.
In 2010, the Air Force performed flyovers for 275 sporting events, which constituted 27 percent of their total amount of flyovers, according to information obtained by Harris.
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