I enjoyed flying formation, tight. Some of my guys hated it, but it got us
through a couple of shitty weather flights.
It also laid a terrific foundation for air to air maneuvers in training
Sent from my iPhone
On Feb 18, 2021, at 19:24, Stephen Sublett <ssublett77@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Ed, you don't want to know. Once upon a time, I might have taken a Cobra to
Barbara for lunch. Perhaps on multiple occasions. There is training involved
of course. You have to practice your flying somewhere, why not practice
flying back and forth to Santa Barbara. Neat flight though. Our clearance
past the runways at LAX was, "Maintain 50 feet and below, avoid sail boats."
On Thu, Feb 18, 2021 at 6:57 PM Edward Retta
That is so cool, but I can't help but wonder how much it cost??
Edward Retta, private sector, lifer
On Feb 18, 2021 17:38, Robert Spiller <rspiller@xxxxxxx> wrote:
From: Ivie Spiller <spilleri@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, February 13, 2021 12:29 PM
To: Spiller Rob <rspiller@xxxxxxx>; Baldree Randy <baldreer@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Super Bowl LV flyover
THE MESSAGE HIDDEN IN THE SUPER BOWL TRIFECTA FLYOVER
by Sean Spoonts8 hours ago
Air Force Global Strike Command bombers perform the Super Bowl LV flyover at
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Feb. 7, 2021. The trifecta was the
first of its kind as it included a B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth Air Force
Base, S.D., a B-2 Spirit from Whiteman AFB, Mo., and a B-52H Stratofortress
from Minot AFB, N.D.
It was a historic first. A trifecta of American strategic bombers doing a
flyover of Super Bowl LV at the precise moment the National Anthem ended. It
only lasted a few seconds, but the cheers of the limited number of fans in
attendance were noticeably loud.
But the fans would be even more impressed if they knew how much work and
advanced planning goes into something like this. And even more so if they
considered the quiet message this flyover sent to our potential adversaries
around the world.
According to the Air Force, a trifecta flyover like this has been desired
for years. But you can’t just dial up three different strategic bombers from
three different bases and expect them to just appear at a precise moment
over a precise location. So complex is the trifecta that it had been shelved
If we wanted to fly a B1B Lancer, B-2 Spirit, and B-52 Stratofortress
together in formation at low speed and altitude and over a target at a
precise moment, what would it take? Well, quite a lot.
“We started doing our initial planning for this flyover back in March of
2020,” said Katie Spencer, Sports Outreach Program manager and Aerial Events
coordinator for the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office. “The
bomber trifecta flyover is something that Carla Pampe, the AFGSC chief of
civic outreach, had been pitching to us for about four years, and this year
it worked out for us to do it.”
To make matters more difficult, each of the bombers came from a different
Bomber Wing in a different part of the country.
Chief of the Air Combat Command Aerial Events Branch, Lt. Col. Chris McAlear
served as the ground controller for the Super Bowl and vectored the aircraft
in for the actual flyover.
Read Next: Watch: B-1B Lancers join Super Hornets in three-carrier flyover
“This flyover took a lot of extra coordination because we were working with
three different wings at three different bases,” he said in a release from
the Air Force. “Normally you’re working with one unit who is used to doing
these types of flyovers, so it was a new dynamic for us.”
“Once we got the final aircrews selected and got the times from the NFL on
when the National Anthem would end, I put together a detailed event briefing
for the three flying crews,” McAlear said.
The flight mission was lead by Captain Sarah Kociuba, one of only 10 female
B-2 pilots. She and her crew took off from Whiteman Air Force Base in
Missouri. The B-1B Lancer came from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South
Dakota, the B-52 Stratofortress from the Minot base in North Dakota.
But flyovers like these are not mere stunts designed to thrill onlookers;
rather, they provide some very valuable training challenges to the Air Force.
And remember, these weren’t your run-of-mill F16 fighters or even some
ever-awe-inspiring A10 Warthogs. No, these are strategic bombers from the
Air Force Global Strike Command the crews of which are prepared for the most
critical deployments to any corner of the globe.
The B-52 and the B-1B Lancer flew to McDill Air Force Base in Tampa several
days prior to the event and used that runway for rehearsals as well as the
final formation flight.
Not only did the Air Force have to scour the training and deployment
schedules to find an aircraft of each type able to be flown on this mission,
but it had to identify a back-up plane of each type in case of mechanical
failure. Of course, there’s also aerial refueling available at a rendezvous
over the Gulf of Mexico and another rendezvous position for the bombers to
meet up and assume formation flight for the run-in to the stadium. What
about an airfield to divert to if a plane had a problem in flight? Gotta
have that worked out. What if one were forced to ditch in the Gulf? A few
Search and Rescue helicopters would have been on standby at McDill AFB or
already in the air near a set of pre-briefed ditching coordinates over the
To even perform the flyover so the crowds could enjoy it, these bombers had
to fly low and slow, and they don’t exactly maneuver like F-35s. Each
aircraft performs differently at these low speeds and altitudes, which made
keeping a tight vee formation a feat in and of itself.
Read Next: U.S. and South Korea send advanced fighters, supersonic bombers
on flyover of Korean Peninsula in show of force
There is no shortage of dangers of formation flight within a low and slow
envelope. And these dangers are amplified by the unknowns.
To limit the unknowns, the aircraft spent several days doing practice runs
over the stadium.
A B-52 Bomber with Minot Air Force Base, ND, and two B-1B Lancers from
Ellsworth AFB, SD fly over Raymond James Stadium on February 5, 2021. The
aircraft were practicing a flyover, which happened two days later at Super
Bowl LV. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tiffany A. Emery)
There were hundreds of minor and major details to be worked out before a
flight like this could take place. Any failure to anticipate and plan for
them can make a very costly mess out of the whole thing. And that is why the
Air Force having pulled it off so flawlessly (or made it seem like it did)
is quite a tribute to its planning, teamwork, and execution.
There are people who complain about these flyovers, saying they are a waste
of money, resources, etc. Yet, what they fail to mention — or simply don’t
understand — is that the military routinely carries out costly and complex
training exercises. And it’s all the better when these exercises present
operational and logistical challenges. Some parts of military training
should always include scenarios where the unexpected and novel have to be
dealt with. This flyover would have certainly offered that in spades.
And, since your bomber pilots need training anyway, why not let them turn a
few heads while they’re at it?
“One of the reasons we do flyovers in the Air Force is to inspire patriotism
and future generations of aviation enthusiasts, and our aircrew and
maintainers are great messengers to share the Air Force story,” said Chief
of Policy and Public Outreach for the Secretary of the Air Force Public
Affairs Office Jennifer Bentley. “This is also an amazing way to showcase
the capabilities of our aircraft to the American public.”
But it wasn’t just America watching Super Bowl LV.
The military commanders of potential adversaries — think China, Russia, and
Iran, among others — would be watching that flyover as well. If I were the
Supreme Leader, I would be none too thrilled with witnessing three different
Air Force bombers from three different bases scattered over a continent
arrive in formation over a “target” at a precise moment in time.
That’s what makes Sunday night’s Super Bowl flyover even more badass.
All of us here at SOFREP are proud of you, Air Force. Well done.
And here is a very cool behind-the-scenes video of the flyover.