Why Fighter Jets Are Flying Over American Cities Today

Why Fighter Jets Are Flying Over American Cities Today
The Thunderbirds Delta formation performs a flat pass of New York City while flying over the Hudson River, Sept. 17, 2018. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Ned T. Johnston)

If you live in the New York City or Philadelphia area, you might see—or hear—fighter jets tearing through the sky today.

The aircraft are F-16s and F/A-18s, flown by the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels, the Air Force and Navy aerial demonstrations teams.

Starting at noon today (Tuesday, April 28th) and lasting for about 35 minutes, New Yorkers will hear the roar of fighter jets overhead—six F-16C/D Fighting Falcon and six F-18C/D Hornet aircraft— because the military wants to salute our essential frontline workers.

“The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, and the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, will honor frontline COVID-19 responders and essential workers with formation flights over New York City, Newark, Trenton and Philadelphia April 28th,” a press release from the Navy explained. (They did not include how much the flyover would cost.”

They also noted that there will be more flyovers in the future “This mission, the first of several planned over the coming weeks, is the culmination of more than a month of planning and coordination between the two teams and numerous city and government offices. Residents along the flight path can expect a few seconds of jet noise as the aircraft pass overhead, along with the sight of 12 high-performance aircraft flying close in precise formation.”

The flyover will start around noon by the George Washington Bridge and down south along the Hudson River and Manhattan and head over Newark. Then the formation will head back over Manhattan and Brooklyn, then over Queens, Long Island, and up to Connecticut. After that they will fly across Westchester County, and head south over Queens and Brooklyn again, near the East River.

The event is expected to last around 35 minutes. Then the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels will head to Trenton for a 10-minute flyover at 1:45 p.m. and Philadelphia, with a 20-minute flyover at 2 p.m.

“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.”

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