Brain-rattling fighter-jet flyovers of Invesco Field are nothing new, but Broncos fans got a special treat last Sunday before the team's first home game: a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, its black, angular shape cruising straight out of the 1990s.
It's not the first time the strange-looking aircraft has made a cameo at a Broncos game, says Teresa Shear, who has the awesome title of Director of Cheerleaders and Game Day Entertainment for the team. One of them rumbled over the stadium three years ago because it had a training mission nearby, but an encore has been difficult to set up. "We apply for it every year, but it's a very hard plane to get," says Shear. Last summer, however, a Broncos season-ticket holder who works with manufacturer Northrop Grumman offered to pull some stealthy strings.
Hence Sunday's bomber, which flew all the way from Missouri's Whiteman Air Force Base at no charge to the Broncos other than travel costs for the U.S. Air Force ground crew who coordinated with the bomber pilot. The Air Force sees it as a training mission, explains Shear: "It helps them with timing on targets. Right at the end of the national anthem, the bomber needs to be right over the top of the stadium."
Such flyovers do require red tape — sixty forms filled out and submitted first to the Federal Aviation Administration, then to the Pentagon, and finally to the bomber's Air Force unit — followed by months of waiting.
But for those hoping to line up a stealth bomber for, say, the most super sweet-sixteen party ever, Shear has bad news: "It's just not gonna happen."
Making book: At first it might seem that The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett's 1934 novel that was just picked for this year's One Book, One Denver selection, lacks even a slender tie to this state. But as it turns out, the classic mystery references one of Colorado's most mysterious figures: Alfred Packer, a man whose past is so murky that no one ever spells his name right. (For the record, it's Alfred — and never mind that Colorado's flagship institution of higher education calls its student cafeteria the Alferd Packer Memorial Grill.)
Back in 1874, while traveling through the snowbound Rockies, Packer allegedly dined on some of his companions — and after Thomas S. Duke retold the story in his 1910 book Celebrated Criminal Cases of North America, the tale became a fixture in the young century's popular culture. Two decades later, Hammett quoted at length from Duke's account in The Thin Man, interrupting Nick and Nora Charles's cocktail-fueled capers with a case study of the only man ever convicted of cannibalism in Colorado.
So it makes sense that, in addition to the city's scheduled screenings of classic film noir movies in connection with this fall's readathon, fans are pushing for a showing of Cannibal! The Musical, created by South Park's Trey Parker (who plays the leading role) and Matt Stone while they were still at CU. We'll drink to that! And so would Nick and Nora — but then, they'll drink to anything.
Joel Warner and Patricia Calhoun contributed to Off Limits. Got scoop? Contact [email protected].