Between the Navy’s Blue Angels, the Air Force’s Thunderbirds, and other various aircraft, flyovers for the Super Bowl have wowed audiences for decades.
This year, the Blue Angels will open Super Bowl 50, at Levi’s Stadium, California, with their “signature six-jet Delta formation.” But during the game itself, there will be other aerial backup.
Air Force F-15 Eagles from the California Air National Guard have been training for weeks leading up to the big game, the Air Force said. The fighter jets will be patrolling the skies for wandering aircraft who have flown into restricted airspaces (on Sunday, the skies above stadium are off limits).
To do that they will need the help of two Civil Air Patrol Cessna planes who will be acting as intruders in the nearby skies. The F-15s will practice interception techniques to escort the Cessnas away from the 70,000+ viewers below.
The Air National Guard and Civil Air Patrol are also there to make sure that any would-be trouble maker stays far, far away.
The exercises, known as Falcon Virgo, are carried out as part of Operation Noble Eagle, launched by 1st Air Force/Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR) after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Air Force said. Together, the Air Force and CAP have been working on such maneuvers for over a decade.
Aircraft has a special place in Super Bowl history — and an expensive one.
Sporting events in the past have quoted military flyovers costing between $100,000 to $450,000 depending on the quality and amount of aircraft used.
Some say that aircraft began participating in Super Bowl events in 1968, two years after the inception of the annual championship (1966 was considered to be the first AFL-NFL championship; the term ‘Super Bowl’ didn’t apply until 1967) . Super Bowl I did not have a flyover.