The Navy’s spine-tingling Flight Demonstration Squad, the Blue Angels and their Air Force peers, the Thunderbirds, will be screaming across the sky in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Atlanta this weekend as a salute to front-lines workers in the fight against COVID-19.
The Blue Angels air show that usually runs during Naval Academy Commissioning Week was canceled along with the rest of the pageantry in Annapolis, but now we know the squad is headed to Baltimore and D.C. as part of a multi-city flyover tribute along with the Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds.
The flight times and paths were announced Friday. The joint Blue Angels-Thunderbirds flyover will be in Baltimore at 11:30 a.m. and last about 15 minutes. It will be in Washington, D.C. starting at 11:45 a.m. and last about 20 minutes. See the flight paths below:
The flight squads brought this new “America Strong” salute to New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia Wednesday as they target the parts of the country hit hardest by the coronavirus. The show is designed to recognize front-lines workers “while standing in solidarity with all Americans” during the pandemic.
“We’re excited to fly over cities across America as our way of saying thanks to the healthcare workers, first responders, and all the people who selflessly run into the breach working to keep America strong,” said Gen. Dave Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Adm. Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is also our way of showing that we are all in this together and that America’s spirit will prevail.”
The flight demonstration squads are practicing social distancing by using air-to-air refueling and no scheduled stops en route to the flyovers. The Air Force and Navy say they’re working with each city to make sure spectators follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, too. If you go outside to watch the demonstration, you’re urged to do so from the safety of your home and not to congregate in groups.
The Department of Defense says the flyovers will fulfill “critical training requirements” for both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, since pilots must perform a minimum number of flight hours to stay sharp. The flyovers won’t incur any additional cost to taxpayers.
The America Strong salute will take place in different cities every one to two days until mid-May.
–Meg Walburn Viviano