Starting at noon today, the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, and the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, will fly over New York City and Newark to honor frontline COVID-19 responders and essential workers. In the map below, you can see the planned path so you can come out to greet the formation of twelve six F-16C/D Fighting Flacon and six F-18C/D Hornet aircraft that will fly overhead as “collaborative salute.” The New York City flight will last about 35 minutes in total. [This post has been updated with video and photos from the event].

The flight will begin at the George Washington Bridge, head down over Manhattan and across the Hudson River, loop over Newark, come back over Manhattan to Brooklyn and Staten Island, up to Queens, to Long Island, Connecticut, Westchester, the Bronx, and over Brooklyn again, before heading south to Trenton and Philadelphia for two more shows.

“We are truly excited to take to the skies with our Navy counterparts for a nation-wide tribute to the men and women keeping our communities safe.” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbird 1 and mission commander for the flyover. “We hope to give Americans a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight with COVID-19.”

US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbolt air show in NYCPhoto by Mickey Blank @mickmicknyc

The flights today, which will also take place in the Philadelphia (2PM) and Trenton area (1:45 PM), are the first of several planned for the next few weeks. A U.S. Navy press release states that these are “the culmination of more than a month of planning and coordination between the two teams and numerous city and government offices” and that the initiative is intended to “recognize healthcare workers, first responders, military, and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbolt air show in NYCPhoto by Mickey Blank @mickmicknyc

In a video, Commander Brian Kesselring, U.S. Navy Blue Angels commanding officer and flight leader, says that “Although our primary mission is flying flight demonstrations, one thing that is also coupled with that, that we do and that we don’t get to do in this pandemic, is the community outreach — reaching out and helping or touching lives of those inside of each community and every air show that we get a chance to perform in. We thought, when we got together with the Thunderbirds is, what is a way that we can reach out and maybe touch those lives. It’s nothing more than neighbors looking out through their window pane and each other together and watching a couple flight demonstration teams fly by. And maybe increase some morale and have a visible show of support. I thought that’s something that we could do together.”

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Caldwell also states in the video “It’s a complete honor to be able to show our support for the first responders, the healthcare workers, the medical professionals that are out there. But even beyond that, really, to everybody who is doing their part to battle COVID-19. We’ve seen heroes emerge throughout all segments of society, whether it’s the cashier, the truck driver, the police, the folks staying at home, socially distancing and doing their part. I think everybody has a role to play in battling each COVID-19 and it has been amazing to see this country come together and fight this disease in the way that they have shown so far. Our flyovers honor everybody doing what they need to do to make sure that America will get through this…” 

US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbolt air show in NYCPhoto by Mickey Blank @mickmicknyc

The U.S. Navy says that residents can see the flyover from the safety of their homes, and should not travel to landmarks, hospitals or gather in large groups to view it. They encourage residents to tag the flyover on social media with the hastag #AmericaStrong.

Map of Blue Angels and Thunderbird flight in NYC Image source: U.S. Navy graphic/Released

Residents in these areas will be able to see the flyover from the safety of their home- quarantine and should maintain all social distancing guidelines during this event. They should also refrain from traveling to landmarks, hospitals and gathering in large groups to view the flyover.

Next, check out our complete coronavirus news coverage in New York City