Caught on Video: "There Are Military Jets Buzzing Us"

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009  |  Updated 12:54 PM PDT
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On the Local Beat: Week of 11/9/09

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An aerial stunt provided Santa Monica Pier visitors with an up-close look at a Cold War-era jet.

For some pier visitors, it was a little too close. 

"I'm out here on the beach, on Santa Monica Pier, and there are two military jets buzzing us," one 911 caller said. "I mean, we're coming in close. They're maybe 10 feet above it."

The incredulous dispatcher's response: "Ten feet above the beach?"

At that point, a jet's engine drowns out the caller's voice. Screams of excitement -- possibly terror -- also can be heard on the audio.

Video of the flyover was released Tuesday. It shows an L-39 Albatross buzzing the pier in November 2008.

The flyover prompted an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration into the use of  experimental exhibition aircraft. They are supposed to be used at air shows, flight demonstrations or training flights over sparsely populated areas -- such as the ocean, not a  crowded tourist destination.

The pilots made several passes and pulled into steep climbs above the pier and its famed Ferris wheel.

The stunt was part of a promotion for a movie. The FAA said pilots planned to fly safe passes using three planes. One was to tow a banner promoting the movie.

Authorities said one of the planes flew away from the other two for the impromptu air show.

The L-39 was used by Soviet bloc pilots for training during the Cold War.

 

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