Politics

Good Question: ‘Reply All’ To Flyovers, Flooding And Grading

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
Jason DeRusha filed his first report for WCCO-TV on April Fool's D...
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Popular Good Questions

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO-TV viewers submit hundreds of Good Questions every week. From ceremonial flyovers of military jets, to school grading systems, we’re hitting “Reply All.”

• What do military plane flyovers cost during sporting events?

On April 8 when the Minnesota Twins opened their season at Target Field, four F-16s flew over the ballpark in dramatic fashion.

It only lasted a few seconds, and it didn’t cost the Minnesota Twins a dime. It didn’t cost taxpayers, either, according to the Minnesota National Guard.

“The Minnesota Air National Guard fly-by over Target Field … was part of a normal training mission, and it occurred at no additional cost to the taxpayer,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, spokesperson for the Minnesota National Guard. “The U.S. Air Force has a deliberate process that scrutinizes public requests for fly-bys on patriotic holidays and at special events, like an MLB opening game.”

All pilots need to fly a certain number of hours every month to stay up to date with training. The guard says, it tries to time training with the ceremonial events like the home opener.

“To be clear, the April 8th flyover was part of a normal training sortie that also included additional training in military airspace,” said Olson.

Fuel cost isn’t cheap for military jets, and, according to F-16.net, it can cost around $900 an hour to put an F-16 in the air.

• Why aren’t things flooding when a river is over flood stage?

Flood stage is a measurement determined by the National Weather Service. The stage means it’s the height where water begins to cause a hazard. So, 3 feet over flood stage might not be that dramatic depending on the topography of the area. Hazard is defined as damage to property, commerce, or people.

• Why is there no letter grade “E”?

There actually used to be a letter grade E, in the very first letter-grading scale, from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in 1897. Anyone with a grade below 75 percent got the E, a failing grade.

But the next year, the E was eliminated, in favor of a new grade – an “F” which stood for Failure. Apparently the concern was that E would be seen as standing for “Excellent.”

A handful of schools still give the grade E, including some in Massachusetts and Michigan. And the “F” has been removed at many schools, in favor of the “U,” meaning “Unsatisfactory.”

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