‘TOPGUN’ from Pembroke Pines directing first-ever all-female pilot Super Bowl flyover

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – A decorated Navy pilot from Pembroke Pines will be a major player on Super Bowl Sunday.

During the national anthem before the Super Bowl, three Navy tactical squadrons will fly above State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Lt. Commander Daniel Armenteros, 35, who graduated from Flanagan High School as Commander of his ROTC unit and is a graduate of the Navy TOPGUN program, will be directing the crew which will be making history.

His father, Ibrahim Armenteros said the family is extremely proud.

“He’s going to be participating in the Naval flyover,” Armenteros said. “He’s very precise in his job, so I think that’s one of the reasons they selected him.”

Ibrahim Armenteros said his son was inspired by relatives in Cuba who were military pilots, joining the JROTC in high school and getting his pilot’s license at 18.

Lt. Commander Daniel Armenteros (Copyright 2022 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

For the first time ever, all of the pilots for a Super Bowl flyover will be women.

The show will include two F/A-18F Super Hornets from “Flying Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122, a F-35C Lightning II from the “Warhawks” of (VFA) 97, and a EA-18G Growler from “Vikings” Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129.

Lt. Caitie Perkowski will be piloting one of the planes in the diamond formation. She has spent most of her career flying on and off 100,000-ton aircraft carriers, and said she couldn’t believe it when she got the call to play the special part in Super Bowl 57.

Fellow pilot, Lt. Suzelle Thomas, said that being asked to pilot one of the four planes was a dream come true.

“It was surreal. As a football fan, when I got the call to do the Super Bowl flyovers. It’s almost like a dream initially for someone who loves the NFL,” said Thomas.

Daniel Armenteros also knows another South Floridian who will play a major role in the flyover.

Fort Lauderdale native Petty Officer Second Class Reanell Smythe. Smythe is one of the sailors who maintains the aircraft that will be part of the national anthem performance.

Fort Lauderdale Navy officer will participate in Super Bowl Flyover (Courtesy: U.S. Navy)

According to the Navy, Smythe joined the Navy six years ago and will be graduating this year with a degree in aeronautics.

About the Authors:

Veronica Crespo writes for Local10.com and also oversees the Español section of the website. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism and Spanish.

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.