The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will help Hokies celebrate the return of football to Lane Stadium by coordinating two military flyovers during the Sept. 9 game against the University of Delaware.
The U.S. Navy will send two F/A-18E Super Hornets to fly over the stadium during the National Anthem.
The F/A-18E Super Hornet is the Navy’s primary strike aircraft. The twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather fighter jet is capable of landing and taking off from an aircraft carrier. It has a top speed of 1,190 mph and a range of more than 2,000 miles.
The pilots for the F/A-18 flyover will be Lt. Cmdr. Sean Reed, a 2006 Corps of Cadets graduate who earned a degree in political science, and Lt. Bret Louderback, a 2013 graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
At halftime, a crew from the Tri-State Warbird Museum in Batavia, Ohio, will fly the World War II-era C-45 Expeditor “Hokie Pokie” over the stadium during the Marching Virginians’ performance.
Additionally, the historic C-45 will be on public display from 9 to 11 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport on Tech Center Drive in Blacksburg. Anyone interested is welcome to come see the aircraft up close and talk with its crew.
The C-45 is based on the Beechcraft Corporation’s popular commercial airplane the Model 18 "Twin Beech," originally designed in 1936. It has a top speed of 225 mph and a range of more than 1,200 miles.
This C-45 sports the nose art "Hokie Pokie" as a tribute to Virginia Tech because it was owned by the university in the 1960s. The museum obtained it through the generous sponsorship of the late Stan Cohen, a Corps of Cadets alumnus who earned his bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering in 1949 and master’s degree in civil engineering in 1951.
Before enrolling at Virginia Tech, Cohen was a pilot with the 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, the Flying Tigers, in the China, Burma, and India Theater in 1945.
For years, Cohen covered the cost associated with bringing the Warbird’s aircraft to Blacksburg to participate in football games. He died in 2016. Today, son Ronald Cohen continues the tradition with the Stan Cohen Memorial Flyover.
All flights are subject to change based on weather and operational barriers.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.