Air Force Capt. Sarah Kociuba is ready to be Super Bowl flyover flight lead on Sunday, sailing her B-2 Spirit from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri over Raymond James Stadium in Florida during the national anthem.
“It is very exciting, I am very humbled,” Kociuba, call sign “Gucci,” told FOX 13. “We are certainly doing our prep for it.”
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This year’s formation is the first-of-its-kind trifecta with three bombers taking off from different parts of America and meeting up over the Gulf of Mexico outside of Tampa airspace.
“We’ve been working for weeks making this plan very precise, so that we can execute it,” she said. “So we’ll all brief together, and plan together, and make this rejoin happen.”
Along with Kociuba’s bomber, a B-52 Stratofortress is coming from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and a B-1B Lancer is coming from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
“Supporting this event is a tremendous honor for our command and the U.S. Air Force,” Gen. Tim Ray, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command, said in a news release. “We look forward to this opportunity to showcase the reliability, flexibility and precision of our bomber fleet to the nation during this exciting event.”
Kociuba has been preparing for her moment her whole life.
She’s a B-2 instructor pilot who has completed more than 90 combat missions and has more than 1,700 flying hours in five different planes.
The bombers will meet in a whiskey area –”restricted airspace” – before the pass over.
“We will rejoin very low altitude, very high speed and very close together in this whiskey area, and then we’ll work our timing, and then do the flyover,” she said.
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The flight will take about seven or eight hours round trip before the bombers return to their respective bases – meaning Kociuba is missing the big game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.
“I’m not going to get to watch the game, so I hope there’s no spoilers before I land,” she said. “I’m going to have to watch it afterwards!”