A flight crew from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island will take to the skies over State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona this weekend as they represent the U.S. Navy in the traditional Super Bowl flyover.
Lt. Peggy Dente and Lt. Lyndsay Evans will join three other all-female crews from Naval Air Station Lemoore, California for the flyover, which commemorates 50 years of women flying in the Navy.
The Whidbey pair from the “Vikings” of VAQ-129 will fly an EA-18G Growler in the formation, alongside two F/A-18F Super Hornets from the “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122 and an F-35C Lightning II from the “Argonauts” of VFA-147. The flyover will take place at the end of the National Anthem.
Dente and Evans left for Arizona on Tuesday and will participate in a rehearsal on Friday. Super Bowl LVII takes place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12.
Dente said it was an honor to be chosen to represent the Navy on such a large national stage, especially for an event that recognizes the legacy of the country’s first female naval aviators. Many female pilots served and died in World War II, but they were only allowed in civilian pilots’ organizations that had no military standing.
The first eight women began flight school in Pensacola, Florida in 1973, and one year later six of them earned their Wings of Gold. Since then, women have served, operated and led at every level of naval aviation.
Dente said she would love to see even more women join the world of aviation. Currently, around 15% of naval aviators are women.
“It’s not a big percentage, but it’s a growing percentage,” she said.
Dente and Evans both attended the University of Southern California and have been friends for over a decade. Dente always knew she wanted to be a pilot; a New York native, she grew up flying with her father, a lifelong civilian pilot.
Likewise, Evans was exposed to the world of aviation through her mother, who works for NASA. Evans said she attended air shows with her mom often while growing up in California.
Evans has been stationed at NAS Whidbey for seven years and serves as a Growler tactics instructor. Dente came to NAS Whidbey three years ago as an instructor pilot.
Both women expressed their excitement about attending the big game on Sunday. The Super Bowl will be both pilots’ first flyover.
“I’m excited to see a close game,” Dente said.