These Are The Aircraft That Took Part In Super Bowl LVII Flyover


Super Bowl Flyover
The flyover formation over Luke AFB (all images, credit: Thomas “Taj” Backus)

Let’s focus on the U.S. Navy jets that flew over the State Farm Stadium at the opening of Super Bowl LVII.

On Feb. 12, 2023, four U.S. Navy jets, flown by all-female crews, carried out the traditional flyover during the national anthem at the opening of Super Bowl LVII at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The aircraft performing the national anthem flyover were two F/A-18F Super Hornets, #136 (s/n 166621) and #131 (s/n 166849), of Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 122 (VFA-122), the “Flying Eagles”; an F-35C Lightning II #403 (#169802) from U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 97 (VFA- 97), the “Warhawks”; and one EA- 18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft #525, serial 166895, from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129), the “Vikings”.

The formation, flying as EXPERT 11 flight, took off from Luke Air Force Base, located 7 miles west of the central business district of Glendale, and 15 miles west of Phoenix, at around 15.30 LT. Our friend Thomas “Taj” Backus was at Luke AFB and took the photographs you can find in this post showing the jets recovering after the flyover, at around 16.40LT.

Lt. Jacqueline Drew lands F-35C of VFA-97 at Luke AFB after the flyover.
F/A-18F #131 (s/n 166849)
EA-18G Growler #525, serial 166895 assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129), the “Vikings”

As a side note, using flight tracking apps and websites, some people noticed that a KC-135 of the Arizona National Guard’s 161st Refueling Wing, radio callsign ADVCE20, was circling over Phoenix at FL230 at the time EXPERT flight was airborne. However, the tanker was not supporting the flyover (as the four US Navy jets did not require air-to-air refueling) but the fighters enforcing the two-mile TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) around the stadium.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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