- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a surprise flyover of Bank of America Stadium Monday by four Air Force pilots that left the Carolina Panthers — and much of Charlotte — stunned.

A-10 Thunderbolts did a low pass over practicing NFL players in North Carolina that impressed the team and confused the surrounding community. A local NBC affiliate said the planes even flew near Duke Energy tower, which stands roughly 800 feet high.

Charlotte-Douglas International initially said the flyover was meant as a rehearsal for a future show, but the the FAA now says the maneuvers should not have been approved.

“As professional Airmen we take aviation safety very seriously,” said Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, the station reported Tuesday. “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.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the spectacle was “awesome.”

“I liked the fact that they waved at us as they went over,” he told the station.

The pilots responsible for the flyover have been placed on restricted flight duties pending the outcome of the investigation. They were on their way back to their home base of Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, when the incident occurred.

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