Super Bowl air coverage provided by Air Force

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  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
There will be Panthers and Broncos at this year’s Super Bowl -- but Eagles?

Thanks, in part, to work done at Robins Air Force Base, the answer is a resounding yes. The teams won't be the only ones commanding a presence Feb. 7 during one of the country's most anticipated annual sporting events. So, if you're lucky enough to score tickets, you'll be in very good company.

The skies above Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, in Santa Clara, California, will be a well-protected fortress, defended by one of the most feared weapon systems in the Defense Department's inventory.

F-15 Eagles, from the California Air National Guard, have been training in the weeks leading up to the big game, along with Cessnas from the Civil Air Patrol. That training includes practicing interception techniques should they ever have to locate and guide wandering aircraft who have flown into restricted airspaces, such as those imposed for the Super Bowl.

Those F-15s, by the way, are the same aircraft maintained by the 561st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex.

At some point in an F-15's service life, it will have been touched by someone from Robins AFB. The aircraft's worldwide reach is possible due to the contributions from hundreds of people at this base.

There are folks in the fabric survival equipment shop who inspect and pack parachutes. If you're coming out of an airplane at 20,000 feet, it's critical those chutes open in time. Each parachute has a service life of 13 years.

Then there are those in the 572nd Commodities Maintenance Squadron, who work on the aircraft's wings. Workers de-panel the wings, tear it down, remove plumbing and foam, then hydroblast sealant and debris. It's inspected and repairs are made as needed before build-up. Mechanics here also work on the aircraft's protective canopies that cover its cockpit and enclose the aircrew.

High-quality visibility is paramount in an F-15, especially when flying in air-to-air combat environments. When an F-15 leaves Robins AFB, it does so with a brand new piece of protective glass. There are the program managers in the system program office who plan the work performed on the F-15 fleet; and foreign military sales professionals who engage with international partners who purchase these high-value assets.

The rewire flight maintainers remove and replace every single piece of wire inside the fighter aircraft's C and D models. That workload will soon end when the final aircraft is scheduled to leave the complex in late February.

The hundreds of engineers, schedulers, planners, sheet metal, and aircraft mechanics who come to work daily to perform programmed depot maintenance have also contributed to fiscal year 2015 numbers that exist due to continuous process improvements in the 561st AMXS. That resulted in the delivery of 73 Eagles back to the warfighter in the last fiscal year.

It takes a true team effort to keep these aircraft flying, not only overseas engaging with enemy forces, but also here in the homeland protecting tens of thousands of citizens who want to enjoy a football game.

Things won't just be crazy on the ground, with metal detectors and bag checks, long lines, congestion in the streets, armed security guards and law enforcement personnel throughout the stadium and city, but the sky, too, will be off-limits. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there will be temporary flight restrictions prohibiting certain aircraft operations within a 32-mile radius of the stadium on game day.

So what happens if you're a pilot and you decide to take a quick, casual detour to peek at gameday activities below? Or, maybe you're just out for a nice flight, got lost for a few minutes and are unaware of your surroundings?

Either way, probably within a matter of seconds, expect you'll be intercepted by a pair of F-15s. In the unlikely event that happens, there's an FAA guide explaining how to react, in case you haven't received training on interception procedures.

In the meantime, sit back, eat some snacks and enjoy a good, old fashioned American pastime -- knowing the skies are safe.