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Meet the Davis-Monthan pilot taking part in the Super Bowl flyover

Maj. Haden Fullam, call sign Gator, is in his second year as the A-10 Demonstration Team pilot
Posted: 1:59 PM, Feb 11, 2022
Updated: 2022-02-11 23:13:57-05
A-10 Demonstration Team

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Davis-Monthan is home to over 80 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets. It has earned the nickname the "Warthog."

One of them belongs to the showpiece of the Air Force A-10 Demonstration Team.

Sunday, that plane will join four others for a Super Bowl LVI flyover.

Before heading to Los Angeles, KGUN 9 spent time with the demo pilot and his A-10 at the Davis Monthan Air Force Base.

"I hope I get to look out the window and just enjoy it a little bit," Major Haden Fullam shared.

Maj. Fullam, call sign Gator, is in his second year as the A-10 Demonstration Team pilot. He will fly in a five plane formation Sunday over the Super Bowl in Los Angeles.

"Like most things in my flying career have gone, you don't realize how exciting it was or maybe how awesome it was until after you've landed," explained Fullam. "You get to take a deep breath and look back and see how it was. Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to look for a second and really enjoy."

Fullam takes pride in the demonstration team and home base of Tucson.

The demonstration A-10 is actually one of the newest, built in 1981. That is well before Haden, or any of the airman who work on the demo team, was even born.

He gave me a tour of the rather low-tech attack jet.

"It's kind of like a Jeep compared to a F-22, F-35 (which) is more like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini," said Maj. Fullam. "A very finally tuned and extremely high-performance machine. Where this (pointing to the A-10) just has a completely different mission set."

KGUN 9 asked Fullam what it is like to be flying the A-10 when its GAU-8 Avenger 30mm gatling gun is fired.

"One day I'm going to I'm going to come up with a good answer for it," Fullam added. "The best way I always talk about it is it's a full sensory overload. It is awesome. It's a really impressive weapon and it's just full sensory overload. You feel it, you see it, you smell it, you hear it. It's everything. "

Fullam then explained how much of the A-10 is taken up by the massive gun.

The A-10 and its GAU-8 Avenger 30mm gatling gun

"The gun goes from where you see the muzzles come out, if you include the whole gun system, right to the leading edge of the wing," he described. "The gun mounts are right on the floorboard. Right where your feet are. When the gun goes off it's pretty violent."

Maj. Fullam is originally from just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. He didn't even know the A-10 Demonstration Team was a possibility until after he'd established himself as a pilot in the Air Force.

Now, he's thankful for the opportunity to represent the Air Force and Davis-Monthan at the Super Bowl.

"What a great opportunity that's been," Fullam said. "To be able to go off and show off this airplane, show off these airman, all over the place. Then for it to afford us to be able to go to an event like the Super Bowl, that's just icing on the cake. Doesn't get much better than that."

Maj. Fullam and the other four pilots have been making practice runs this week in Los Angeles, ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl flyover at the end of the National Anthem.

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Pat Parris is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. He is a graduate of Sabino High School where he was the 1982 high school state track champion in the 800 meters. While in high school and college, he worked part-time in the KGUN 9 newsroom. His father, Jack Parris, is a former general manager of the station. Share your story ideas and important issues with Pat by emailing pat.parris@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.