Low-flying helicopters over DC this weekend assessing radiation ahead of inauguration

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Helicopters will once again be flying low over downtown D.C. and other areas in the region to assess radiation ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration flights are scheduled for this Saturday, Oct. 31 and Sunday, Nov. 1. Some of the flights will be in restricted air space. The flights are expected to conclude by Nov. 6.

The agency’s nuclear emergency support team aircraft will measure naturally occurring background radiation as part of standard preparations to protect public health and safety on the day of the event, according to a news release.

You may see a twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, which is equipped with passive radiation sensing technology, flying in a grid pattern as low to the ground as 150 feet at approximately 80 mph.

Flyovers will occur only during daylight hours and are estimated to take approximately two hours to complete per area.

“The aircraft measurements will be purely scientific in nature, and no surveillance or other form of monitoring will occur during these flights,” the agency said.

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