Thunderbirds perform Super Bowl flyover

USAF photo: Staff Sgt. Bradley Lail The U.S. Air Force Thunder-birds perform a flyover during the singing of the National Anthem during Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Air Force News Service

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds thrilled more than 70,000 spectators at Super Bowl XLIII by performing a flyover at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Feb. 1.

The contest which pitted the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Arizona Cardinals was seen by 86 million viewers worldwide as the America’s Ambassador’s in Blue opened the event in a six-ship Delta formation flyover following the national anthem sung by Academy Award winning singer Jennifer Hudson.

“We are very excited to be here in Tampa and represent the more than 700,000 men and women serving America’s Air Force at home and abroad,” said Capt. Jason McCree, Thunderbird public affairs officer. “We appreciate the opportunity to display the pride and professionalism of all airmen.”

For 56 years, “America’s Ambassadors in Blue,” have inspired American’s and captured the dreams of a nation by demonstrating the precision and training of active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Airmen serving around the world.

The Thunderbirds are ramping up for their 2009 Show season, which begins March 21 at Luke AFB, Ariz. A Thunderbird demonstration consists of six Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons performing aerial maneuvers at more than 400 miles per hour in formation as close as 18-inches apart. The four-aircraft, diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the two solo pilots perform maneuvers highlighting the maximum capabilities of the F-16.