This year, people at the super bowl got a special treat.The Air Force Global Strike Command gave one every one of their aircraft, a B-52, a B-1, and a B-2. It would be the trio plane flyover for a major event. Although no a lot of people knew, the aircraft names added up to 55, which was ideal for Super Bowl LV, or 55.
The three bombers, with the B-2 in the lead, flew over the stadium exactly as Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan finished the National Anthem’s, with the jets roaring by overhead, creating a stunning outline in the Tampa Bay sunset. “Our job was to basically set up the route to fly over the stadium,” said 1st Lt. Alex Sisco, a B-52 weapon systems officer, or WSO, in charge of the flyover’s mission planning.
Although spectators only saw 5 seconds of the flight it came at a cost. According to Fiscal 2017 data, flying a B-52 costs roughly $48,000 per flight hour, a B-1B is about $94,000 and a B-2 flight rounds out to roughly $122,000 per hour. With roughly 18 hours of flight time including the practice run and the mission, the flyover likely cost close to $4 million.
About 30 minutes prior to the flyover, they were seen flying around just before they moved into tight formation. The flight formation is when aircrafts fly less than three feet apart and must move in complete harmony, as if they are joined together. To time it just right, Sisco said they calibrated their speed to around 280 miles per hour. “It’s really just simple math. We use the winds and our computers on board, as well as just real simple math, slight geometry,” he said.
The bombers were 250 feet apart from wing tip to wing tip.”That’s pretty close. I mean, the B-52 is 185 feet wide,” Sisco said.
After the flyover the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs with a blowout score of 31-9.