187th Fighter Wing, the Redtails, to Kick Off UGA vs. ND Saturday Night
Saturday night, all eyes will be on Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia for a much anticipated matchup between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM eastern, but the noise will be brought before then by the 187th Fighter Wing and the 100th Fighter Squadron, known as the Red Tails, based out of Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Alabama.
The flyover will consist of four F-16C+ Fighting Falcons. The pilots for Saturday’s flyover are:
Lt. Co. Mike “Homie” McGinn from Athens, Georgia (1998 UGA Graduate)
Capt. Henry “Hobs” Hughes from LaGrange, Georgia
Capt. Jeff “Split” Witt from Dunwoody, Georgia
Maj. Don “Rolex” Lambing from Atlanta, Georgia
In addition to the four pilots conducting the flyover, two more pilots from the 187th will be located inside Sanford Stadium, communicating with the formation and helping to make sure the timing is executed perfectly. They are known as forward air controllers, and for Saturday night’s flyover, both forward air controllers are 2000 UGA graduates.
Saturday, the jets will be staged out of Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia for the flyover. Once they arrive in Athens airspace, they’ll begin circling 10-15 miles out, which equates to about a minute and a half of flying time at their airspeed. Once they receive confirmation from their forward air controllers, they’ll begin tracking towards the stadium, using slight throttle adjustments and s-turns to compensate for slight differences in timing. The goal is to be piercing the top of the stadium as the anthem singer ends the last note, and they’ll do so at 1000 feet AGL.
The 187th Fighter Wing is a part of the Alabama Air National Guard, and is an active combat squadron. They have completed deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Southwest Asia, and the Pacific as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Inherent Dissolve, an they are currently preparing to take part in Operation Noble Eagle. It is also important to note that the 187th Fighter Wing has been selected as one of the first three Air National Guard units to receive the F-35 Lightning II.
Be sure to stay tuned to our website and social media for updates and video of tomorrow’s big UGA vs. ND flyover!