On Sunday, February 13th, 2022, Super Bowl LVI featured a truly unique flyover. The Air Force Heritage Flight conducted a special formation of five aircraft that represented 75 years of United States Air Force service. From the P-51 Mustang to the F-35 Lightning II, this historic flyover was an unforgettable experience!
I was incredibly fortunate to be asked to photograph these aircraft. It was an honor to be up in the air with such incredible machines and equally impressive pilots.
The Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation air team is composed of current Air Force pilots who fly or pair up with retired veteran airmen in vintage warplanes from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The flights serve to remind us of service past and present, while giving audiences an amazing show that celebrates American air power. Through their high-flying routines, The Air Force Heritage Flight demonstrate both classic and current air power and put on dynamic air shows all over the country.
The Air Force Heritage Flight flying over Super Bowl LVI was even more special, as it was the first time that these aircraft conducted a flyover together.
The flyover of these five aircraft was be nothing short of spectacular. Not only was it an excellent show for Super Bowl fans but it also served as an impressive reminder of how far aviation technology has come over the past 75 years. From P-51 Mustangs used during World War 2 all the way up to lighting fast modern day fighter jets like the F-22 Raptor, the aircraft flying over Super Bowl LVI were truly part of a one-of-a-kind experience!
The five aircraft that featured in the flyover are the P-51 Mustang, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Lightning II. Each of these aircraft represents a different era in US Air Force history and together they create an amazing display for viewers to enjoy. These aircraft had never-before conducted a flyover together, making this flight one for the record books!
The P-51 Mustang was originally designed as a long-range fighter, used during WWII in all theaters of war. It was also one of the most successful Allied fighter planes of its time and is still flown today by civilian enthusiasts and air demonstration teams around the world.
Produced during WW2 and in service from 1942 until 1980. It was known for its speed, maneuverability, and range that allowed it to escort bomber crew back home safely from missions over Europe.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II is another historic aircraft, commonly referred to as “the tank killer” due to its primary mission of destroying enemy armor and artillery during wartime operations.
Also known as the "Warthog", the A-10 was introduced in 1977 and specifically designed for close air support of ground forces, allowing pilots to provide their ground counterparts with fire support by attacking armored vehicles, tanks, and other ground units at low altitudes.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is an iconic fighter jet that was introduced in 1978 as a multi-role fighter that could perform various missions such as interception, air superiority missions, ground attacks, anti-ship operations, and reconnaissance. It has been used by many countries around the world since its introduction and continues to be operated by 18 different nations today.
The F-22 Raptor was inducted into service in 2005 and is considered to be America's most advanced fighter jet. Used extensively in combat operations due to its advanced stealth capabilities and its ability to gain air superiority quickly due to its high speed and maneuverability. The F-22 is capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 2 with thrust vectoring capabilities for unparalleled agility in flight.
The F-35 Lightning II —the newest aircraft on this list having only been introduced in 2015— is a fifth generation of fighter jet developed for both offensive and defensive capabilities. It has been designed with stealth technology that allows it to penetrate enemy airspace undetected while its long range abilities allow it to engage targets far away from its base of operations. All-weather stealth capabilities and advanced sensor fusion technology makes the F-35 one of the most formidable fighters in modern warfare.
Hosted at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, Super Bowl LVI was a game that put even more pressure on each team than usual, with both the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Los Angeles Rams and American Football Conference (AFC) champion Cincinnati Bengals vying for top honors. It was an exciting game, but ultimately it was the Rams’ 23-20 victory that saw them crowned Super Bowl Champions.
The Super Bowl is an annual championship game that brings together the best of the National Football League (NFL). The first Super Bowl was in January 1967 when the Green Bay Packers took on the Kansas City Chiefs for the title. Since then, every year two teams compete head-to-head in an event that has become one of America's biggest unofficial holidays. Today, The Super Bowl is held annually at a different stadium across the country, offering spectators a unique experience as they cheer on their favorite team.
SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California is an architectural marvel. The stadium is one of the most expensive and advanced sports complexes ever built. SoFi Stadium officially opened in 2020 and has already become one of the most recognizable landmarks in Southern California because of its unique elliptical-shaped design. It is a multipurpose venue that provides an up-close experience to guests, with 260 executive suites, on a 8.5 million square foot area, and over 70,240 total seats.