Press Releases

Press Release | Feb. 1, 2017

CONR region of NORAD flies air defense exercise in preparation for Super Bowl LI

Continental United States NORAD Region – First Air Force (Air Forces Northern)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.   –  

Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region fighters, along with its interagency partners, will be busy well before Super Bowl Sunday preparing to protect the skies around NRG Stadium in the Houston area.

Just like Super Bowl teams, NORAD and its interagency partners practice before the big game.

Exercise Falcon Virgo 17-SBLI, a NORAD air-defense exercise, will be flown Wednesday in the greater Houston area so interagency partners can practice procedures for responding to airspace violations.

The Falcon Virgo exercise is a series of training flights in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, FBI, Customs and Border Protection, Civil Air Patrol, the 601st Air Operations Center, and Western Air Defense Sector (CONR). These agencies are part of America’s team for defense of the air space around the nation.

Individuals in and around the Houston area can expect flights to begin at around 11 a.m. and continue until approximately 1 p.m.

If inclement weather occurs, officials will make a decision to postpone or cancel the exercise.

“We’re proud to continue our legacy of partnering with our interagency partners during this exercise to sharpen our air defense skills ahead of Super Bowl 51 in Houston,” said Lt. Gen. Scott Williams, CONR commander. “For the past 16 years, we’ve worked closely with the FBI, FAA, Customs and Border Protection, and local law enforcement to defend the skies above the Super Bowl.”

These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability. CONR has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s ongoing response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“We hope all fans enjoy Sunday’s big game. Rest assured the men and women of U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, Continental U.S. NORAD Region, and America’s AOC will be on the watch to ensure our skies are safe,” Williams said. “We look forward to working with our interagency partners to achieve this goal.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have responded to more than 6,000 unknown air tracks in the United States and have flown more than 65,700 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft for Operation Noble Eagle.