A helicopter may be seen flying at low altitudes over portions of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale and Tempe from Jan. 22 through 28, 2015. The purpose of the flyovers is to measure naturally occurring background radiation.
Officials from National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that the radiation assessment will cover approximately 22 square miles.
A twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System from the Nellis Air Force Base will be equipped with radiation sensing technology. The helicopter will fly in a grid pattern over the areas at 150 feet (or higher) above the ground surface, at a speed of approximately 80 miles per hour. Flyovers will occur only during daylight hours and it is estimated to take about three hours to complete per area.
The measurement of naturally occurring radiation to establish baseline levels is a normal part of security and emergency preparedness. NNSA is making the public aware of the upcoming flights so that citizens who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed.