‘People hit the deck’ - Londoners stunned by fighter jet flyover

The US Air Force planes flew over the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to celebrate the start of the NFL match

The fly-past left a trail of red, white and blue smoke. - Credit: Lola Meaden

Eyes were on the sky yesterday afternoon as four F15 fighter jets roared over North London, leaving many thrilled and some frightened. 

The US Air Force planes flew over the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to celebrate the start of the NFL match between the Atlanta Falcons and, appropriately, the New York Jets.

The military aircraft, piloted by the 492nd Fighter Squadron, took off from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk and soared over the Spurs stadium at 2.30pm yesterday (October 10), moments before kick-off.

Tower Hamlets Police had warned Londoners on Twitter: “If you hear a loud rumbling in the sky shortly… It’s just a #USAF F15 jet transiting over London.” 

But it still came as a shock to many.

Helena Darkowaa, a 60-year-old school meals supervisor who was stewarding at the game said: “My heart just went. It was a surprise.”

But not everyone was pleased. Twitter user @gingersnap wrote: “Genuinely thought it was about to crash on me. I’m literally shaking and in tears”.

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Last Wednesday (October 6) there had been a practice run in which the jets, capable of speeds of 1,875mph, charted a similar course.

Sarah, a local 55-year-old homemaker, who had come down especially to see the Sunday display, said: “They were even lower on Wednesday. They shook the whole house.

“The noise was really impressive. People hit the deck!”

The match was part of the NFL International Series, which sees a selection of American football games played abroad, and was the first of its kind since the pandemic.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is designed to accommodate American football, and features an artificial NFL turf that is revealed when the football pitch is retracted.

The match finished with the Falcons beating the Jets 27-20. The game was watched by an attendance of more than 60,000.

According to the website ‘IanVisits’, there will be another flyover when the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, October 17, also at Spurs’s ground. 

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