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 nearby area, May 23-27, in preparation for the Indianapolis 500 race on Sunday, May 28. (The flight schedule is subject to change based on weather conditions.)
NNSA’s Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) aircraft will measure expected background radiation as part of standard preparations to protect public health and safety on the day of an event.
The public may see NNSA’s twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, which is equipped with radiation-sensing technology. The helicopter will fly in a grid pattern over the areas at 150 feet (or higher) above the ground at a speed of approximately 80 mph. Flyovers will occur only during daylight hours and are estimated to take approximately two hours to complete per area.
These surveys are a normal part of security and emergency preparedness activities. NNSA is making the public aware of the upcoming flights so citizens who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed.
The helicopter is operated by the NNSA’s Nevada National Security Site Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System, located at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. More information and video footage of NNSA’s Aerial Measuring System is available online.
NEST is part of NNSA’s Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation and is an element of the Nation’s nuclear or radiological emergency response capability.