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Thunderbirds To Salute Coronavirus First Responders With San Diego Flyover

Associated Press
A formation of jets from the Navy's Blue Angels, left, and the Air Force's Thunderbirds fly over Atlanta, to show support for medical workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak, Saturday, May 2, 2020.

The Air Force's famous Thunderbirds will honor frontline COVID-19 responders and essential workers Friday with formation flights over San Diego and Los Angeles.

"It is an honor for our team to salute the countless Californians who have committed to keeping the communities safe during this difficult time in our nation," said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, commander of the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron. "We hope to give onlookers a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight against COVID-19."

A formation of six F-16C/D Fighting Falcons will conduct the flyovers as a salute to health care workers, first responders, military and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Residents along the flight path can expect a few moments of jet noise as the aircraft pass overhead, along with the sight of a half-dozen high- performance aircraft flying in precise formation.

The San Diego flyover will begin at about noon, with the Thunderbirds flying north from Chula Vista, then circling over downtown San Diego, then looping over National City, Santee, El Cajon and La Mesa before moving north generally over Interstate 5. The squadron will loop over Encinitas, then make a circle over Carlsbad before moving east to circle over Escondido, then head north to Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

Residents will be able to see the flyover from their homes and were urged to maintain all social distancing guidelines during the event. Air Force officials also advised people not to travel to landmarks or hospitals and avoid gathering in large groups to view the flyover, officials said.

The Air Force encouraged people who take photos to tag them on social media as #AmericaStrong and #Thunderbirds.