Auburn fans find themselves looking up a lot during home games in Jordan Hare. Watching the eagle swoop around the stadium during pre-game festivities, gazing up as Nick Marshall airs out another deep pass for an Auburn touchdown, or even checking the skies for late evening late summer thunderstorms. And for one home game a year, Auburn fans have another reason to look up, a flyover.
Flyovers are one of the most American traditions going today in professional and collegiate sports. Nothing gets a crowd going like several million dollars’ worth of American freedom machines roaring across the sky as the marching band finishes the last notes of the national anthem. Let’s take a look at some of Auburns best flyovers from the past decade. (PS I apologize for bad national anthem singing in advance.)
#8- (3) Auburn vs (6) LSU 2006
A change up from the usual fighter jet flyover, this game featured four Chinook helicopters. At a cost of $38.55 million dollars per copter, these aircraft are twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter and are primarily used for troop movement, artillery placement and battlefield resupply. On the field Auburn won this top 10 match against LSU 7-3, with a one yard touchdown rush from junior quarterback Brandon Cox.
#7- Auburn vs (24) Ole Miss 2013
This flyover was a part of the Auburn’s second annual Military Appreciation Day. Due to government budget cuts and the sequester, the aircraft used for the event were privately contracted Aero L-39 Albatrosses. The Albatros originated from the Czechoslovakian Air Force and has been retired to mostly a military training plane and it is not uncommon for these aircraft to be purchased and flown by civilians. The price range for these planes is $200,000- $300,000. On the field the unranked Tigers upset the 24th ranked Rebels 22-30, with 140 rushing yards and two scores from quarterback Nick Marshall and a pick six from safety Robinson Therezie.
#6- (3) Auburn vs Texas A&M 2014
World War II era planes flew over Jordan Hare as a part of the University’s third annual Military Appreciation Day. The plans featured were a F4U Corsair and two P-47 Thunderbolts. The old propeller planes, which served from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s, were about 20 seconds late after Auburn’s band had finished up the anthem and may have almost missed the stadium to the west, but was an awesome spectacle none the less. On the field the Aggies upset the Tigers 41-38 after a dominant first half lead by true freshman Kyle Allen.
#5- (5) Auburn vs (6) LSU 2010
The flyover for this game featured an F-18 Hornet. The Hornet is a naval fighter jet introduced in the mid-1980s and is still in service today. F-18s are one of the most frequently used aircraft in sporting event flyovers and are also the model aircraft flown by the Blue Angels, the US Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. After the flyover the Auburn Tigers took the field for this top 10 matchup lead by star quarterback Cam Newton. Newton ran for 217 yards and two scores and had his de facto Heisman moment in the 24-17 victory.
#4- Auburn vs (24) Ole Miss 2009
This flyover featured not one, but two F-18 Hornets roaring across the overcast skies above Jordan Hare Stadium. On the field the Tigers upset the Rebels with efforts from senior offensive stars Chris Todd and Ben Tate.
#3- Auburn vs (22) Texas A&M 2012
It was appropriate for Auburn to choose a match up with newly added SEC school Texas A&M to host its first ever Military Appreciation Day. Texas A&M was at one time strictly an all-male military academy and since switching to a co-ed, four year institution has maintained one of the largest ROTC programs in the nation. The flyover featured four F-16 Falcons piloted by a crew made up of both former Auburn and Texas A&M ROTC students. F-16’s went into service in the late 1970s and are still used in missions today. The fighters flew in the “finger-four” formation, a variation of the “missing man” formation, which is used to honor pilots who have lost their lives serving in the United States military. The only display more impressive than the pregame festivities was the on the field performance of Texas A&M’s redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more in a 63-21 victory for the Aggies.
#2- (2) Auburn vs UGA 2010
The stakes were high in the 113th meeting of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Auburn looked to maintain its undefeated record against the Georgia Bulldogs. After going down 21-7 in the first quarter, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton led the Tigers to victory by rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for a third. The Flyover featured two F-18 Hornets flying extremely low and extremely fast as they crossed Jordan Hare air space.
#1 2007 Iron Bowl
Tommy Tuberville’s Tigers looked to hang a sixth straight victory on its arch rival Alabama. With the game being a 7:00 p.m. kickoff local time, many would have thought it would be too late in the evening for a flyover. However, as the Auburn marching band finished the last notes of the national anthem, three F-18 Hornets tore across the night’s sky with the lead plane switching on the after burners, rattling ear drums and leaving a bright trail of exhaust behind. Led by senior quarterback Brandon Cox, the Tigers would go on to defeat the Tide 17-10.
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