Air Force Thunderbirds Gearing Up for Super Bowl LIII Flyover

The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds are scheduled to conduct a flyover during the national anthem performance at Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 3, over Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta. (Air force Photo)
The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds are scheduled to conduct a flyover during the national anthem performance at Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 3, over Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta. (Air force Photo)

The first public event of the year for the Air Force's Thunderbirds flight demonstration team will be a flyover for the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.

The Air Force announced in a news release that the F-16 Fighting Falcons from the demonstration team will feature a six-aircraft formation, soaring over the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, as the Star Spangled Banner is sung. The jets will take off from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in nearby Marietta for the Superbowl LIII flyover.

"Supporting this event is a tremendous honor for the team and the U.S. Air Force," Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbirds commander and leader, said in a statement. "We look forward to showcasing the pride, precision and professionalism of our nation's 660,000 total force airmen to football fans around the world."

The team last flew for the Superbowl in 2017.

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Last year, two A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft, an F-16 and and a P-51 Mustang, performed a flyover over Minneapolis as part of a first-of-its-kind Heritage Flight.

The Thunderbirds, part of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, paused their show season last year after the tragic death of Maj. Stephen "Cajun" Del Bagno.

Del Bagno, the F-16 slot pilot flying the team's No. 4 jet, was participating in a routine training flight at the Nevada Test and Training Range on April 4 when he lost consciousness and crashed.

The Thunderbirds resumed their show schedule in May 2018.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @oriana0214.

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