No, it’s not happening again.
Downtown Minneapolis residents and business owners looking up at the sky early Friday saw an unfamiliar sight — a low-flying helicopter buzzing past several skyscrapers and U.S. Bank Stadium. The reason: A television crew was filming a commercial for Super Bowl LII near U.S. Bank Stadium.
Images of the chopper, rigged with a gyro-stabilized camera and hovering over the IDS Center, began popping up on Twitter later in the morning.
“What is going on in Downtown Minneapolis? There’s a helicopter hovering above @usbankstadium and a bunch of @MinneapolisPD and @MinneapolisFire vehicles around???” one user tweeted.
For some, the sight may have evoked an unannounced military training exercise two years ago that led to some head-scratching — and plenty of criticism.
After a flotilla of Blackhawk helicopters was spotted flying in formation or weaving through downtown buildings, worried residents flooded social media with messages wondering if there was criminal activity in their neighborhoods.
E-mails later obtained by Public Record Media, a public watchdog group, revealed that military officials had barred local police from telling the public about the exercise, part of a five-day urban training mission staged by the Pentagon in August of 2014, until the last minute. Military authorities then started the exercises before notice was given.
This time around, residents had plenty of warning.
“Wanted folks to know a helicopter will be flying in the area of US Bank Stadium & the IDS in DT Minneapolis tomorrow, mid-AM,” Minneapolis police tweeted from their official account on Thursday. “The MPD and city leaders are well aware. A film crew is shooting a TV commercial. If weather is bad, they will film the commercial again on Saturday.”
It wasn’t immediately clear when the commercial will air.