From takeoff to touchdown: Ellsworth bomber set for Super Bowl flyover

ELLSWORTH AFB, S.D. — Super Bowl LV is just days away and a piece of South Dakota will be making a special appearance. A B-1B bomber from Ellsworth Air Force Base will make the trek on Sunday, joining up with two other bombers in the Air Force’s fleet.

The B-1, B-2, and B-52 will be screaming overhead Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida this Sunday, coming together for a first-of-its-kind performance. While the flyover lasts seconds, the planning takes months.

The B-1 crew from the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth AFB has been working with the other platforms to prep since December.

“It’s been phone calls, lots of texts and emails going back and forth with the planners from the Air Force,” said Major Michael Webster.

“We have to coordinate with the FAA weeks in advance to make sure we’re allowed to fly over the airspace because its a busy traffic area with an international airport nearby,” said Captain Abraham Morland.

For the B-1, it takes at least three hours to get there, then they meet up in the “whiskey area” with the other bombers.

“It’s a restricted airspace off the coast of Tampa,” said Capt. Morland. “We’ll meet up with the other bombers, we’ll get in formation, and then we’ll make sure we have our timing set to be over the Super Bowl stadium in time for the national anthem.”

Hitting the “time-over-target” during the right moment, in this case, flying over the stadium during the national anthem, is all part of training.

“We always talk about working a target backwards,” said Maj. Webster. “We have our time we need to be there and work back. How fast do we need to go and then we have mission planning software and it comes down to basic math of how fast do you have to go and how far do you have to go and then just hitting your timing from there.”

The exercise showcases the work of everyone on the ground and in the air. “The flyovers are done at no additional cost to the taxpayer and serve as time-over-target training for our pilots, aircrew and ground control teams,” reads a news release from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB.

The B-2 from Whiteman AFB in Missouri will lead the flyover. A B-52 from Minot in North Dakota, will join as well. The three Global Strike Command bombers will demonstrate the platform’s ability to deploy anywhere.

“Supporting this event is a tremendous honor for our command the U.S. Air Force,” said Gen. Tim Ray, AFGSC commander. “We look forward to this opportunity to showcase the reliability, felxibility and precision of our bomber fleet to the nation during this exciting event.”

Categories: National News, South Dakota News