Fact Check

F/A-18 Hornet Fly-By

Rumor: Photograph shows an F/A-18 Hornet flying past a Detroit apartment building.

Published Jul 20, 2009


Claim:   Photograph shows an F/A-18 Hornet flying past a Detroit apartment building.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, July 2009]

I work in downtown Detroit and the last few years during the Gold Cup boat races there is a F/A 18 Hornet low flying demonstration. Before the time trials last Friday (July 10th around noon) this was the case once again. A single F/A 18 buzzing all the skyscrapers in downtown, car alarms going off in all the parking garages and office personnel watching this awesome display from one of our country's finest. One I was talking to other and reading the web, I found an awesome looking photo (attached). As low as I know this plane was, this photo is very possible. Many website are calling this photo fake. I did not have this same vantage point as the photographer but I just want to know is this photo real?

Click to enlarge


Origins:   The startling picture displayed above was taken by Detroit News

photographer Steve Perez on 12 July 2009. On that date, a Navy F/A-18 Hornet from Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia made a scheduled flyover above Detroit to entertain crowds gathered along the Detroit River to watch the American Power Boat Association Gold Cup powerboat races. Just as the jet turned sideways and zoomed past a high-rise apartment complex, Perez snapped the remarkable photo shown here.

Although the photographer's vantage point and the flattening effect of a two-dimensional telephoto lens make the jet appear to be very close to the apartment building, according to the military "the jet was actually about 200 to 300 feet away from the shoreline" and "no one on the ground or in a building was ever at any risk."

Last updated:   24 September 2015


    Geller, Andy.   "Yikes! This Is Plane Scary."

    New York Post   13 July 2009.

    ClickOnDetroit.com.   "Detroit Gets Close Encounter with Jet."

    13 July 2009.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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