South Dakota Aircraft to Flyover Super Bowl
When Super Bowl LV is finally about ready to kick off after two weeks of hype there will be a South Dakota connection soaring by.
A B-1B Lancer bomber from Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City will be part of the traditional fly over prior to kickoff in Tampa.
Two other large bomber jets will also be joining the flyover. A B-52 Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and a B-2 Spirit from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri will accompany the South Dakota based plane.
Military history nerds, like me, will notice that the three bombers come from various eras of the Cold War.
The B-52 is the oldest of the three bombers. It first flew in the Air Force in 1954, when Dwight Eisenhauer was in his first term as president. It is also the longest serving aircraft in the history of the Air Force. Initially designed to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union at high altitudes, its purpose veered to fly lower level missions. It holds the record for the longest flight time for a mission, 35 hours, when B-52's took off from Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and hit targets in Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991.
The B-1, which looks very modern, started development in the late 1960's. I can drop a lot of bombs, like the B-52, but is way faster and capable of supersonic speeds of up to MACH 1.25 or 951.5 mph. President Jimmy Carter canceled the B-1 program but it was resurrected by President Ronald Reagan and the sleek bomber is still in service today.
Meanwhile the B-2, which was in development as the B-1 was ready to roll out, was part of the reason President Carter wanted to ditch the latter. While slower than even the B-52, the B-2 is a stealth aircraft which uses a combination of angles in the fuselage, small cross section, and radar absorbing materials to be nearly impossible to detect on radar.
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