State Now

Pre-game flyover group cleared to return at NC State

College football will be back at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday and so will be the Bandit Flight Team.

The local flight group, led by Cary resident Jim Kilpatrick, had become a regular part of the pre-game festivities at N.C. State until the Federal Aviation Administration put a stop to stadium flyovers last November.

Kilpatrick met with the FAA in July and got clearance to resume the flyovers at N.C. State home games, including Saturday’s opener with Troy.

“We are back in business,” Kilpatrick, 69, a former Air Force pilot, said.

The Bandit team, which usually consists of between four to six Warbird and CV-8 planes, did a pre-game flyover for all eight homes games in 2013 and the first five games last season. The FAA didn’t have a problem with Kilpatrick’s group specifically, rather temporarily grounded all pre-game stadium flyovers.

There’s a certification process in place now, Kilpatrick said, that his group has completed.

“We were ahead of the curve,” Kilpatrick said.

The military had put a moratorium on flyovers for athletic events in 2009 and Kilpatrick’s group was one of several acroos the country, who had stepped in to fill the void.

Kilpatrick met with N.C. State last week and said his group will have a flyover for at least five of the six home games this season.

Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio