Military Responds to City’s Request for Flyover Notification; Mayor to Raise Issue at Future Council Meeting

posted: September 19th, 2012 06:49 am | 9Comments


The United States Navy has responded to a Newport Beach letter requesting advance notice for military flyover tributes, stating that no notice will be given unless the city code is changed to require it.

Mayor Nancy Gardner said she would suggest such a change at the next City Council meeting.

The issue arose after a memorial was held for a World War II hero John Francis (Jack) Callahan, who died Feb. 19, 2012 at age 94. Callahan was a decorated World War II flyer, and his son wanted to incorporate a military tribute as part of his service, which was held at the Balboa Yacht Club on March 24.

No advance notice was given to city officials, and the unexpected appearance of four F-18s followed by two World War II T-6s started many local residents, who flooded the police station with calls. Mayor Gardner of Corona del Mar said at the time that she thought the planes were going to crash into her house.

In April, City Manager Dave Kiff sent a letter to Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine), asking for the congressman’s assistance in working with the military to secure advance notification for future flyovers.

Campbell received a reply dated Sept. 11 from J.M. Phillips, a congressional liaison in the Pentagon.

“Your concern in this matter is appreciated, and I regret the delay in responding to your correspondence,” the letter said, adding that
they investigated with Marine officials in Camp Pendleton and in San Diego.

“We were informed that by standing directive, the 3d MAW (3rd Marine Aircraft Wing) does not assume responsibility for advance coordination with, or notification of, city officials for the municipalities under the air space where aerial support and other air operations are conducted,” the letter said. “However, city governments may enact ordinances to regulate or restrict requests from the community for military aerial support for events located within their city limits.”

The 3d MAW is responsible for coordinating such events, the letter states, so they comply with FAA air-space regulations and local air traffic control agencies. For Callahan’s flyover, the letter states, Marines worked with Southern California TRACON for air traffic control coordination. Kiff said TRACON generally is operated out of San Diego. He has previously said that John Wayne Airport officials did not seem to be aware of the Callahan flyover.

“On March 24, 2012, the funeral fly-over was executed with a flight of four F/A-18s that were in radio communication with Southern California Approach Control,” the letter states. “It consisted of a single pass at an altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level at an airspeed of 300 knots, with one F/A-18 executing a climbing left turn to an altitude of 3,500 feet to effect the ‘missing man’ formation.”

Gardner said in an email that she planned to suggest that the city of Newport Beach require advance notification for flyovers. EDITED to clarify that the notice would be provided by citizens requesting flyover.

“I think it’s good for the city to have notice,” Gardner said in an email. “In today’s world, it doesn’t take much to alarm us, and for us to be able to provide notice will allay concerns. I also think that some people, on learning of a flyover to commemorate someone might go out and watch and add their respects.”

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 25 in Council Chambers at City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd.

Read our earlier stories here, here, here and here.

9 Responses to “Military Responds to City’s Request for Flyover Notification; Mayor to Raise Issue at Future Council Meeting”



September 19th, 2012

I would think whoever requested the flyover, the son in the case, should notify neighbors... same as if you were holding a loud party, event, etc... Not the Navy's responsibility just as it wouldn't be a vendor's responsibility.


September 19th, 2012

People actually got scared seeing a flyover? Hilarious.


September 19th, 2012

I'm with TK. I'm grateful to live in a city where this is a concern to my local government, but perhaps we could let this one go.


September 19th, 2012

dont you people have anything better to do than complain about flyovers, and want it approved first??? how ridiculous. The flyovers are for something special, and honestly, i think its pretty cool that they did a flyover for Mr Callahan. Stop the complaining and do your jobs, and find something alot more necessary to complain about other than that.


September 19th, 2012

Not "seeing", TK, but "hearing". I never saw anything - but what I heard scared the heck out of me. I was a quiet peaceful day, when suddenly there was the roaring sound of plane engines - it was so loud, it shook the house and rattled my windows - and it seemed to come out of no where. My first thought was that a plane from John Wayne Airport was coming down into the neighborhood - I've actually never heard anything like it, and it scared the heck out of me. I don't have an issue with fly-overs. I think it is a nice tribute, and frankly I wish I had known it was happening because I would have loved to have seen it. But it does seems completely reasonable that at the very least, the City and police department should be aware that something like this is going on, so that when frightened or concerned citizens hear it and call in, they can be reassured.


September 19th, 2012

Nope. Didn't hear it. I love that sound though so I'd probably scream with joy. Nothing better than the sound of a low flying fighter plane. I get it though, some people might not like hearing that out of no where. Maybe I'm weird. There's no feasible way to let every citizen know ahead of time and frankly, if they figure out a way to do that, i'd rather they use their resources on something more important. Ryan your final point is correct and I agree. Being able to answer calls from people who are worried is legitimate so maybe part of this future ordinance can be useful. Basically what it boils down to is this. Trying to prevent fear is impossible. Just watch me after you tell me you're opening champagne. I'll still jump when the cork pops (how embarrassing). But, being able to talk someone down from a scare that has already happened is fine. There's a difference and I just hope the powers that be will understand the line between those two issues.

Corona del Mar Today Staff

September 19th, 2012

Reply to


September 19, 2012

People actually got scared seeing a flyover? Hilarious.

It was the noise, not the sight of it, that startled residents. Did you hear it?


September 19th, 2012

Seriously, change the city ordinance? I am embarrassed to be from Newport at moments like this.


September 19th, 2012

Just to clarify. It was not a typical fly over that you hear and see at a football game or special event. It was extremely loud and sounded like a plane was in distress. Since the airport is so close i thought a plane was going down. I was scared to death and did not know which way to turn since I was on the first floor of my home and could not see the sky. I ran out of my house with my 2 small children. All of the neighbors were outside as well. Countless planes and helicopters constantly fly over the beach each day and the noise was nothing like the every day aircraft noise. So stop arguing about whether it was scary or not. It was. I imagine it was louder in certain areas of cdm as well. And don't even say I am not patriotic or respectful. My 90 year old dad is a stellar marine and he did not raise me to be a sissy or to be dramatic. My respects to the family. It was just an unfortunate incident.

Leave a comment