The military flyover is a long-standing Super Bowl tradition that has been happening ever since 1968. It was a pre-show before Super Bowl II where several U.S. Navy aviators flew over a Super Bowl field for the first time. Ever since then, it has become a vital part of the annual Super Bowl tradition.
The 57th Super Bowl will have the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. This year the flyover will be making Super Bowl history, as every single member of the flyover will be a woman. The crew maintaining and working on the planes is also majority female. This team acts as a tribute to 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy after the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola, Florida, in 1973. A year later six graduated to earn their wings and became known as “The First Six.”
Two of the female pilots who will orchestrate the diamond formation talked to USA Today on Thursday about what it was like to be selected for the honor. "It was surreal," Navy Lt. Catie Perkowski said. Navy Lt. Suzelle Thomas added: "I did not believe it." Lt. Thomas will be flying an F-35C, the Navy's newest aircraft, according to ABC.
Navy Lt. Thomas recently made history as the first woman to qualify directly to fly an aircraft. Perkowski, who will be at the back of the diamond formation, said it will be "a dream" to fly over the Super Bowl at more than 300 mph. "My dad did ask me to call him from the sideline on the Super Bowl," Perkowski said. "I'll do my best."
Seven women are contributing to making history this Sunday. Flying the two F/A-18F Super Hornets: Lt. Arielle Ash, pilot, of Abilene, Texas; Lt. Saree Moreno, weapon systems officer, of Tampa, Florida; Lt. Naomi Ngalle, weapon systems officer, of Springfield, Virginia; Lt. Caitie Perkowski, pilot, of Albuquerque.
Flying the EA 18G Growler: Lt. Margaret Dente, pilot, of North Salem, New York; Lt. Lyndsay Evans, electronic warfare officer, of Palmdale. Flying the F-35C Lightning II: Lt. Suzelle Thomas, pilot, of Birmingham, Alabama.
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