Fighter Jet Puts on Impromptu Show over Des Moines

An Iowa Air National Guard General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon flies over Principal Park in Des Moines on July 14, 2012. The 132nd Fighter Wing is based at the Des Moines International AIrport. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)



WEST DES MOINES (KCCI-TV) — An F-15 fighter pilot with the Florida National Guard put on an impromptu air show in the skies over the western Des Moines suburbs Tuesday morning.

"It was coming down really fast -- and then it seemed to me like at the last possible second it banked hard left and then went vertical at full throttle -- and I was like, "Holy cow!" I turned around and I look and the engine boosters are just glowing bright, bright orange. The windows were rattling. It was definitely a wake-up call," said witness Bree Spradling.

Spradling said it lasted less than 30 seconds and happened around 10 a.m. She said the jet came close to homes in a heavily populated Waukee neighborhood.

"It was very close. Way closer than it ever should have been for any reason," Spradling said.

"It felt like it was right on top of me," said witness Willie Knolmayer.

"For a minute I thought it was going to crash. But then he banked hard to the left and you could just feel the power of the engines and he went up vertical -- like I said my windows were shaking in my office -- you could feel it in your chest," Spradling said.

Federal Aviation Administration radio transmissions indicated the pilot went by the call name Venom 01.

Radar showed the pilot did a couple of tight turns and took off. It rattled windows for miles.

"I was like, 'Oh holy cow. What's going on? Did you guys see that?'" Spradling said.

When the Florida Air National Guard heard about the incident, it contacted the pilot immediately. Lt. Col. James Evans said the pilot admitted to flying low.

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