ATLANTA — If you notice some low-flying, high-speed helicopters in parts of the Atlanta area this week, don't be alarmed.
The federal Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration will be conducting the low-altitude helicopter flights over downtown Atlanta and parts of Buckhead on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 28 and 29, as well as on Sunday, Feb. 3, Super Bowl Sunday.
The flyovers are part of federal security operations for Super Bowl LIII and are measuring naturally occurring background radiation.
The helicopters being used are twin-engine Bell 412 model helicopters, equipped with radiation-sensing technology and are operated by the NNSA's Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, DC.
The helicopters will be flying in a grid pattern over the areas involved at an altitude of only 150 feet, and at a speed of about 80 mph. The flyovers will only occur during the daylight hours and are expected to take about three hours to complete in each area.
The measurement of naturally occurring radiation to establish baseline levels is a normal part of security and emergency preparedness. The NNSA says they are making the public aware of the flights so that people who see the aircraft aren't alarmed.