HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — It appears clear skies were ordered for a special flyover over Hampton Roads to honor frontline workers Tuesday evening.
Joint Base Langley-Eustis U.S. Air Force announced the flyover Friday, May 8 to “honor and pay respects to frontline workers and those staying home to help flatten the curve” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The demonstration began Tuesday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. and included the Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team and Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation which flew throughout the Virginia Peninsula.
The flyover map below showed a scheduled take-off from JBLE, continuing north to Richmond before returning south through Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, and finishing in Virginia Beach.
Military leaders said the flight path is very specific.
“They’re flying over hospitals, police stations, and fire stations,” explained Col. David Lopez, the First Fighter Wing commander. “We’ve made a list and reached out to make sure that they wanted the flyby first of all, and to let them know when those were actually going to occur so that the intended audience.”
“Those first responders and medical providers can actually witness it and go outside or look through their office windows and see the flyby.”
Norfolk Police joined other local departments and lined up with their lights on along the S. Military Highway overpass on I-264 as a symbol of thanks.
“This is the way, right now, that we can right now give back to the local communities,” said F-22 demo pilot Maj. Joshua “Cabo” Gunderson. “By showing a symbol of solidarity and flying over the people that really are tackling this battle across the country.”
“The Thunderbirds, Blue Angels are all doing flyovers and this is our small piece to that puzzle in terms of giving back to that community here in Virginia.”
For those concerned about the costs of the flyover, Lopez explained this is a regularly-scheduled training flight so there are no additional costs. They just adjusted the route to honor first responders.
Follow the flight on social media by using #VAFlyBy and #AirForceSalutes in posts.
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