The NFL will honor the 75th anniversary of the US Air Force with a special Heritage Flight formation flyover during the national anthem at Super Bowl LVI.
The Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation – a charity that partners with the Air Force to arrange Heritage Flight performances at airshows – announced the flyover plans this week. The formation will consist of a World War II-era P-51 Mustang leading all four of the USAF’s single-ship demonstration teams – the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and A-10 Thunderbolt II.
The five-ship heritage formation has never been flown publicly before. A few five-ship formations were flown during the Heritage Flight Conference in 2018 as a photo op. Heritage Flights at normal airshows are limited to four aircraft at the most, and even four-ships are only flown a few times each season.
Legendary pilot Steve Hinton will lead the formation in the P-51 Mustang “Wee Willy II” from the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA. He and the demo teams will converge on Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos (often called Los Alamitos Army Airfield) in the week leading up to the game on February 13th. Media and practice flights are expected to start on February 10th.
The 2022 Super Bowl (LVI) is being held at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA on February 13th. Kickoff time is planned for 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT.
This is the second year in a row that the Air Force has done the flyover for the Super Bowl. In 2021, the flyover was a rare formation of all three bomber types currently serving in the Air Force, the B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, and B-52 Stratofortress. The flyover traditionally alternates between the Air Force and Navy, which makes it a little surprising to see the Air Force featured twice in a row.
The Heritage Flight was featured as the flyover for Super Bowl LII in 2018 in Minnesota. That formation consisted of one P-51, one F-16, and two A-10s.
Recent Super Bowl flyovers have seen controversy for going over closed stadiums and getting short segments of on-air time, but the vast majority of the massive audience is watching the game on TV and even a few seconds of coverage is extremely valuable outreach. The Air Force made a considerable media push in 2021 to maximize the coverage of their efforts in the lead up to the game, getting even more outreach out of it.
Check out our airshow calendar to find out where you can see the US Air Force demonstration teams performing later this year!