Folks in the cafes and classrooms of Berkeley, California, were startled Tuesday afternoon by a rare sight and sound for the university town: a Navy fighter passing low overhead.
Indeed, an F/A-18E Super Hornet pilot who flew over the University of California campus in Berkeley on Tuesday is under investigation for possibly violating Federal Aviation Administration and Navy regulations, a Naval Air Force Pacific spokeswoman has confirmed.
The pilot, whose name is not being released, flew between 2,500 to 3,000 feet over the city of Berkeley during a training flight on Tuesday afternoon, Lt. Reagan Lauritzen said.
Berkeleyside said an anonymous source, who claimed to be a UC Berkeley student, wrote in an email that the Naval Air Station Lemoore, California-based pilot is his brother, and the low-fly was in his honor.
Though the pilot was under FAA control throughout the flight, the Navy is making sure the flyover was safe and approved.
"It's not uncommon for the Navy to investigate flights resulting in public disturbance," Lauritzen said. "The Navy determined an investigation was warranted based on local reporting of the flight pattern."
Navy F/A-18s must keep an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle with a clear horizontal radius of 2,000 feet when flying over a densely developed area or assembly of people, per FAA regulation, Lauritzen added.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.