Meet the bomber pilot who will be leading the first-of-its-kind Super Bowl flyover in Tampa

The Big Game

WARRENSBURG, Mo. (WDAF) — Like a pinpoint pass from the quarterback to a receiver, the Super Bowl flyover must go on without a hitch.

A female Air Force pilot based in Missouri is responsible for making sure that happens as bombers from three states prepare for the first-of-its-kind tri-bomber flyover for Super Bowl LV.

“It is difficult, but we make it happen with just a ton of practice,” Pilot Capt. Sarah Kociuba said. Kociuba is leading the group, flying a B-2 Spirit, also known as the stealth bomber.

On Sunday, she will take off from Whiteman Air Force base in Missouri. The other two bombers, a B-1 and B-52, will fly in from South Dakota and North Dakota. The three will meet up over the Gulf of Mexico, just outside Tampa airspace.

Kociuba will be in constant communication with the grounds crew inside Raymond James Stadium. The plan is to fly over Super Bowl 55 in perfect formation just as Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan hit the final note of the National Anthem

“Obviously, (it’s) a very dynamic schedule that could change quite often as we’re in the air,” Kociuba said. “So, (the Super Bowl crew) will constantly be talking to me as I am managing the formation to ensure that we are at the stadium at the right time.”

The bombers will fly low and go fast — clocking anywhere from 250 mph to 300 mph.

There will be no touchdown in Tampa for Kociuba and her crew. After the flyover, they will continue training and meet up with tankers for fuel.

“We’ll all probably be flying around seven to nine hours,” Kociuba said.

Kociuba remembers the first B-2 flyover she saw at the Rose Bowl parade — it inspired her to join the Air Force. In July 2017, she became the eighth female B-2 pilot. As the one now sitting in the cockpit on a national stage, she hopes to let young boys and girls know that the sky is the limit.

“We’ll be rooting for the Chiefs and we’ll be on time, we’ll see you there,” Kociuba said.

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