GLENDALE, Ariz. (WSVN) — As the Super Bowl weekend gets underway, a group of women fighter pilots is preparing to be part of the pregame festivities for the first time ever.
They are set to soar into history as they take part in the stadium flyover.
The U.S. Navy showed the aircraft set to take flight over State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday. For the first in NFL history, the flyover will feature seven women.
One of the women, U.S. Navy Lt. Kathryn Martinez, joined the Navy in 2014, following in the footsteps of her grandfathers and dad.
“There are 50 years of women in naval aviation so, 50 years ago, the first female pilot earned her wings, and now we have an entire Super Bowl flyover of women,” she said.
Martinez is a WSO, which she said stands for “weapons systems officer.”
But on Sunday, she will be sitting in the back seat of a FA-18F.
Lt. Jacqueline Drew is also flying.
“I currently fly the F-35C,” she said.
Her love for the Navy started in high school and after the Naval Academy, she landed her seat in flight school.
“While I was in flight school, turns out, I enjoyed going fast, so jets seemed like a good fit,” said Drew.
For Lt. Lyndsay Evans, her mother’s work at NASA led her to fly the EA-18G Growler.
“If you’ve ever seen ‘Top Gun,’ I’m essential, like, Goose’s equivalent,” she said.
She’s an EWO, which Evans said stands for an “electronic warfare officer.”
“We pretty much control the weapons systems on the aircraft,” she said.
The diamond-shaped formation will include two FA-18F Super Hornet fighter jets, one F-35C Lightning II stealth combat aircraft and one EA-18G Growler electronic attack jet, which will depart from nearby Luke Air Force Base.
Their time on target is to be over the stadium on the last notes of the national anthem.
“If we’re going a little slower, it’s going to be a little louder, as those jet engines stay over, parked over the stadium a little bit longer. If we’re going a little bit faster, they’ll get a bit of a quicker show,” said Martinez.
“We’ll have a crew on the ground, both here at Luke Air Force Base and at the stadium itself, on the radios, giving real-time feedback to the pilots,” said Drew.
All of the pilots will fly at 300 knots; that’s six miles per minute, just feet apart.
“Probably anywhere from, like, five to 10 feet away, maybe closer; depends on how feisty you feel that day,” said Evans
For these women, this experience is once in a lifetime.
“If you want to do this, it’s possible,” said Evans.
Martinez said she is excited and nervous.
One of the Navy sailors supporting the flyover is a Fort Lauderdale native.
After the flyover, all seven women will be attending Super Bowl LVII.
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