The U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation (AFHFF) put on a display of 75 years of Air Force airpower with a flyover of SoFi stadium in Los Angeles on Super Bowl Sunday.
The flyover, which came on the U.S. Air Force’s 75th anniversary year featured an array of fighter aircraft from the branch’s earliest days of service to its most modern and cutting-edge.
Leading the formation was AFHFF fighter pilot Steven Hinton in the World War II-era P-51 Mustang. On Hinton’s wings flew an F-16 fighting falcon, an F-35A Lighting II, an A-10 Thunderbolt II and an F-22 Raptor.
In an interview with American Military News, Hinton said placing his P-51 in the lead of the formation serves the practical effect of allowing the older prop aircraft to set the pace for the faster fighter jets. It also serves the aesthetic effect of showcasing the evolution of the Air Force’s airpower from its beginning to today.
“WATCH: Here’s the @usairforce Heritage flight flyover just before kickoff of the #SuperBowl!,” Fox13 reporter Brian Schnee tweeted. “Maj. Kristin ‘BEO’ Wolfe piloting the F-35A Lightning II out of @HAFB (@F35demoteam) and Maj. Garret Schmitz (from Price, Utah) piloting the F-16 (@ViperDemoTeam).”
Hinton said the particular formation is unique in that until Sunday, the AFHFF had only flown it in practice and never at a live event.
“#SuperBowlLVI the flyover buzzed my house,” another Twitter user said.
“SuperBowl Flyover from the backyard,” another user tweeted.
In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, the F-35 Lighting II Joint Program Office tweeted footage from a formation practice. “Check out the cockpit footage of the aircraft, including an F-35A from the @F35demoteam, rehearsing the #AF75 @afhflight flyover at @SoFiStadium for this weekend’s #SBLVI Super Bowl!”
While some viewers from the ground were able to capture cell phone footage and ground cameras, some social media users were underwhelmed when NBC cut its cameras away from the formation as it passed over the stadium.
“Why didn’t they show the military flyover @SoFiStadium? C’mon @SNFonNBC!!! #SuperBowl,” one user Tweeted.
“Here’s the flyover video you wanted but didn’t get on TV,” Airshow News tweeted. “What did you guys think of this year’s U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight flyover?”
“Did you catch the Super Bowl flyover?,” the Air Force tweeted from its official account. “The iconic flyover that kicked off the Super Bowl included the U.S. Air Force @F35demoteam, F-16 @ViperDemoTeam, @A10DemoTeam, and an Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation P-51 Mustang. AF75 #AFFlyover #SBLV.”
Despite the limited official coverage of the historic flyover, several videos were captured as the formation flew overhead.
“I got a glimpse of the #flyover,” one user tweeted. “Thank you to all our military at home and abroad.”
“#SuperBowl Fly Over!!!! Five aircraft representing the Air Force’s 75 years!!!,” ABC reporter Josh Haskell tweeted.
“A-10, F-16, P-51, F-35, and F-22, I think? #SuperBowl #Flyover,” another user tweeted.