F1 Television Camera Helicopter Hit By National Anthem Fireworks At U.S. Grand Prix

Screenshot: combat_learjet on Instagram
Screenshot: combat_learjet on Instagram

The Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas last weekend was as close to an interesting battle at the front as we’ve gotten so far this year, but the action wasn’t exclusively on track. Video surfacing this week on social media shows the firework-happy all-American celebrations taking place before the race might have been ill advised, or at least ill-timed. A video camera helicopter for the series was shown getting engulfed in colored exploding gunpowder, smoke, and noise at the crescendo of the Star-Spangled Banner.

You can clearly hear the projectiles actually hitting the metal of the helicopter in the video. There’s something deeply terrifying about a few thousand pounds of metal hovering in air over a giant crowd suddenly getting inadvertently bombarded by a tiny firestorm. I’m sure the pilot was startled, at a minimum, and while it appears he coolly moved the vehicle out of harm’s way, things could have gone way worse. If I’d been at the stick here, I probably would have been so jumpy the whole thing would have ended up downside up in the middle of turn one or whatever.

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