The Thunderbirds will not be alone Sunday in Houston
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds won't be the only F-16's in the Houston area on Super Bowl Sunday.
A group of F-16's from the 138th Fighter Wing out of Tulsa, Oklahoma will stand at the ready Sunday along with UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, Cessna C-550 Citation jets and two Airbus AS350 helicopters.
Together, they will support the North American Aerospace Defense Command along with customs and border patrol to protect the 30-mile restricted airspace surrounding NRG Stadium, host of Super Bowl LI. In effect starting at 4:00 Sunday, the unrestricted airspace is off limits to all air traffic except law enforcement aircraft, air ambulances, military aircraft, and select airliners.
When an unrestricted aircraft goes within the 30-mile border set by the FAA, they will be contacted by air traffic control before being intercepted by a Black Hawk helicopter, or worse, an F-16 Fighting Falcon. KC-135 Stratotankers will also be airborne Sunday night in order to keep the F-16's airborne the entire night. The waiver runs up to midnight on Sunday.