UW-Madison officials are taking extra precautions for next week’s football game, asking the government and UW Police for support.
The school put in a request to the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily stop planes from flying over Camp Randall Stadium on game days.
Casey Nagy, executive assistant to UW Chancellor John Wiley, said the main concern over the small aircraft, which commonly pull advertising banners above the crowds, is that last week’s terrorist attacks are still fresh on the minds of most people.
“[We have a] concern about how people would feel seeing aircraft flying around the stadium at such a close proximity,” Nagy said. “While any possibility of a copycat incident is remote, in the immediate aftermath you’re more likely to have a copycat incident.”
Wiley put in the request last week, prior to the cancellation of the Badgers’ game against Western Kentucky, but is still waiting for approval from the FAA.
The school said it wants the flights banned by Sept. 29, when the Badgers play Western Kentucky, a game that was postponed in honor of the victims of last week’s attacks.
The FAA said it received a number of similar requests and is currently reviewing them.
“We are weighing the public interests against our security interests when making these determinations,” said a statement issued by the FAA’s Great Lakes office. “We’re looking at these situations on a daily basis and will certainly consider any requests for additional restrictions.”
If approved, the FAA would temporarily ban flights in a one-mile radius of the area, and those at least 3,000 feet above the ground.
“People’s emotions and sensitivities are still pretty high after what happened,” Nagy said. “So we’ve asked for it not on an indefinite basis, but on a relatively temporary basis. We decided to air on the side of caution.”
According to the Associated Press, Green Bay Police Chief Jim Lewis would like to have the same ban applied to Lambeau Field during Green Bay Packers games for the remainder of the season.
In addition to the no-fly zone request, Wiley has asked UW Police to evaluate their own security precautions for the Sept. 29 game.
“I want to reassure people that there is significant preparation and coordination before each of our home football games,” said UW Police Chief Susan Riseling. “The tragic events of last week will be factored in accordingly, and will be a priority as we move forward.”