Helicopter testing radiation levels in San Francisco at low altitude 

click to enlarge A low flying helicopter owned by the federal government will be testing for radiation levels over the next five days in the San Francisco area. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • A low flying helicopter owned by the federal government will be testing for radiation levels over the next five days in the San Francisco area.

Relax, people. The helicopter you might see hovering alarmingly low over San Francisco this week is nothing to worry about — it’s only testing radiation levels.

For five days starting today, research choppers owned by the federal government will conduct daytime flyovers in The City, Oakland and Pacifica, according to local police. At times, the twin-engine Bell 412 will hover just 300 feet above the ground.

The goal of the flyovers, federal authorities said, is to improve the government’s ability to measure aerial radiation. During flights, the high-tech chopper will measure “naturally occurring background radiation.”

The operation is part of a joint research project involving the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The chopper intends to survey some 69 square miles, authorities said, flying in a grid pattern. The flights will reportedly be limited to daytime hours.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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