NEST helicopter image

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will conduct low-altitude helicopter flights over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex and vicinity area between May 25-28.  Flight dates are subject to change based on weather conditions.

The aerial surveys are being conducted in support of the Indianapolis 500 race taking place on May 29.  NNSA’s Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) aircraft will measure background radiation as part of standard preparations to protect public health and safety on the day of the event.

The public may see a twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, which is equipped with radiation sensing technology and operated by NEST’s Aerial Measuring System based at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.  The helicopter will fly in a grid pattern over the areas at 200 feet (or higher) above the ground at a speed of approximately 80 mph.  Flyovers will occur only during daylight hours and will take roughly two hours per area to complete.

These surveys are a normal part of security and emergency preparedness activities. DOE/NNSA is making the public aware of the upcoming flights so members of the public who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed.

For more information and video footage of NEST’s Aerial Measuring System, visit /nnsa/aerial-measuring-system-ams.