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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 25 - May 8  > US F-16 fighter jet flies at ultralow altitude, violating aviation rules
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2018 April 25 - May 8 [US FORCES]

US F-16 fighter jet flies at ultralow altitude, violating aviation rules

April 27, 2018
A video has been uploaded to YouTube showing a U.S. F-16 fighter jet flying over Aomori and Iwate prefectures at an ultralow altitude in violation of aviation rules, exposing the U.S. military disregard of Japan's national sovereignty.

The video footage taken by a camera on the aircraft stationed at the U.S. Misawa Air Base (Misawa City, Aomori) appeared on April 2 on a YouTube channel, "USA Military Channel".

In the video, the F-16 Fighting Falcon is flying over many houses and civilian infrastructure including a power plant, in complete disregard of aviation safety regulations, as if showing off its muscle not considering at all the disruption affecting the lives of residents below.

Aviation law sets minimum safety altitudes at 300 meters from the top edge of the highest object located in the case of space over densely populated areas and at 150 meters in the case of space over unpopulated areas or water surface. The U.S. government on January 14, 1999 agreed with the Japanese government to have U.S. military aircraft abide also by these limits and to give adequate consideration to flights over areas of high population density, schools, hospitals and other public facilities in Japan.

According to Ise Jun, a Japanese Communist Party member of the Rikuzentakata City Assemly in Iwate who viewed the video, the F-16 flew alongside the Oirase Mountain Stream and just above the surface of Lake Towada, both famous sightseeing spots. Approaching a steel tower, the aircraft rotated to the right and flew at low altitudes directly above the area with many houses and buildings which include children's facilities. Then, it flew between 78-meter-high windmills at a wind power station.

A resident in her 80s told Ise that she was very scared by the thunderous sound of the aircraft. Another resident in her 70s said, "I have weak hearing but I heard so much noise. It was scary."
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