Land of the free, home of the brave. ‘merica.
Football game flyovers are a symbol of american power and pride. A flyover after a national anthem represents the culmination of soulful singing, perfect timing, and precision execution. While many fans get to experience the roar of the jets, the actual work behind the scenes is intense. Every single second and point on the route of the flight is planned out. Contingency plans are developed. Clocks are hacked to the exact microsecond. All in the hopes that things will go perfectly.
For a pilot actually executing the flyover though, the best you can hope for is to ‘break even’ and maybe get introduced to the stadium crowd at halftime. Egos have been bruised from poorly timed flyovers. Careers have been ruined by flyovers that were just a little too amazing. In fact, most of the most epic flyovers resulted in some sort of punishment by commanders. Flyovers are cool but they aren’t worth sacrificing safety or a career. Enjoy our list of the top 5 epic flyovers of all time.
6.) Four ship of F-15C flyover Gillette Stadium
In what might be the best example of an awesome flyover that didn’t lead to any punishment, these four bad ass pilots had perfect execution. Just as the singer finished his last note, the Eagles came screaming in low, fast, and loud.
5.) Largest NFL Flyover Ever
On October 13th, 42 civilian aircraft took to the skies over Arrowhead Stadium. Prior to kickoff, they flew in a tight wedge formation wowing the crowd below. It was the largest formation of aircraft ever flown over a NFL stadium. To our knowledge, the record still stands.
4.) F-15 Eagles Shake Up The Jacksonville Jaguars
Perennial basement-dwelling Jaguars could use a pep talk from time to time. The front office was hoping that 4 x 47,500 lbs of thrust blasting through their stadium at a low altitude could wake the team up. Unfortunately, the epic flyover didn’t help that much. The Colts beat the Jaguars 34-24.
3.) Pilots Grounded After Wake Forest Flyover
These two F-18 pilots probably didn’t start the day expecting that it would be their last sortie. But all it took was an ‘altimeter error’ that wasn’t corrected until after the low pass. This flyover from 2009 caused quite an uproar. The Navy disciplined the two pilots by grounding them permanently.
2.) The “One Time Good Deal” Flyover That Stripped a Retiring Pilot Of His Wings
On a crisp Iowa evening at Kennick Stadium in 2010, a four ship of T-38s flew a very epicly low and fast flyover. The pilots involved in the flyover were disciplined. According to Military.com, the jets flew just 16 feet above the pressbox. The formation lead, who was on his final flight of his career before retirement, was later stripped of his wings. While the flyover was lower than allowed and faster than planned, it looked relatively safe.
1.) What Was This Guy Even Thinking?
While the Iowa flyover was lower than allowed and faster than planned, it looked relatively safe. That’s more than what we can say about our #1 most epic football flyover. Back in 2000, this F-18 Naval aviator decided to buzz the stadium. This flyover is ridiculous and dangerous. It’s worth watching if only to remind us that planes are awesome, but pilots can make dumb errors in judgement all for the thrill of the potential adulation. We’re just glad no one was hurt.