Thunderbirds release flight path, schedule for Friday’s SoCal flyover to honor COVID-19 responders

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The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have released the flight path and times for Friday’s highly anticipated flyover in Southern California to honor medical professionals, first responders, military and essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Six F-16C/D Fighting Falcons will take part in the flyover, officials said.

The Los Angeles leg of the aerial salute is scheduled to start about 1:35 p.m. in the Laguna Beach area. The aircraft will head north to the greater Los Angeles area , circling back along the coast to Orange County before reaching the Corona area around 2 p.m.

From there, the Thunderbirds will continue toward Moreno Valley, loop around Riverside and end in the Mead Valley area.

Another flyover route will begin at 3:05 p.m. in the Port Hueneme area, going through Simi Valley and the western edge of the San Fernando Valley before finishing just north of Santa Clarita at 3:10 p.m.

The San Diego portion of the aerial tribute will take place earlier in the afternoon, beginning in the southern portion of the county about noon and concluding 25 minutes later near Escondido.

Officials have said that times could possibly change.

The purpose of the demonstration is to honor all essential personnel responding to the COVID-19 crisis in California, according to a statement from the Thunderbirds.

“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,” Lt. Col. John Caldwell, the commander and leader of the Thunderbirds, said in the statement. “We hope to give onlookers a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight against COVID-19.”

For those along the flight path, the sound of jet noise will likely be audible for a few moments as the aircraft are visible.

Residents are urged to witness the spectacular sight from the safety of their homes and should not travel elsewhere and congregate with others in public to watch, officials said.

This will be the second flyover over the Southland in as many days to salute health care workers and first responders.

Aerial tributes took place throughout the day Thursday in Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

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