HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Lets hit the sky with the pilots with the Civil Air Patrol—originally formed in the dark days of WWII to patrol our coastline. Today it's part of the Air Force.
"We do search and rescue. We do 85 percent of the search and rescue in the United States. We do everything on land. The Coast Guard does the ocean," says Col. Brooks Cima.
But today the mission is a little bit different. It's a training mission to improve Super Bowl security. That's why we are bumping along through the Houston area sky at about 100 mph and 1,500 feet up.
Private pilots are supposed to check flight restrictions before they leave, but they don't always. That's a minor concern. The major concern is that a terrorist could take off from a local airstrip packed with something dangerous and head to the stadium.
So now we are playing an airborne game of cat and mouse. Our job right now is to be the mouse, to squeak into the airspace around NRG and see if we can get away with it. So if we're the mouse, who is the cat?
These are several cats, actually—F-16's flying out of Ellington Field. They will either be airborne or ready to scramble at a moment's notice. Our plodding single engine plane is no match for these fast, sleek beasts, so what's the point? It's simple really.
"We let them practice on slow airplanes. Normally they don't get to intercept slow airplanes like we are so we provide a target for them," said co-pilot Russell Peck.
This training will ensure it will be game over before they even get near the big game.