The Hawaii Air National Guard and 15th Wing active duty airmen from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will perform a flyover Thursday in a salute to Hawaii’s frontline workers battling COVID-19 and to those staying home “to flatten the curve” of the virus.
The flyover will begin on Oahu at about 11:20 a.m. on a course that will take the aircraft above most of Hawaii’s large hospitals and major metropolitan areas at an altitude between 2,500 and 3,000 feet.
The event will feature Hawaii-based U.S. Air Force planes, including a C-17 Globemaster III, a KC-135 Stratotanker and a flight of F-22 Raptors, which will complete routine training sorties as they visit each island. The aircraft were already scheduled for these training flights, so the flyover comes at no additional taxpayer expense.
The flight path was coordinated with Hawaii state officials as well as the Federal Aviation Administration.
“This event will recognize the hard work that everyone in Hawaii has already accomplished to keep Hawaii’s COVID cases among the lowest in the United States, while also acknowledging the need for continued vigilance, and our obligation to those in our community who will require continued assistance,” Brig. Gen. Dann S. Carlson, 154th Wing Commander, said in a news release. “These flyovers are meant to provide hope and reaffirm confidence in our state and nation while emphasizing the Air Force’s enduring commitment and support to the people of the State of Hawaii.”
Officials said residents should view the spectacle from the safety of their homes while adhering to social distancing guidelines and should refrain from traveling to see the flyover. Hospital workers are also encouraged to watch but avoid large gatherings and maintain social distancing.
According the Air Force, once the planes fly over Kahuku, the routes will diverge with a C-17 going to Kauai and a KC-135 heading east toward Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii island. The F-22s will fly to the north and continue with regularly scheduled training.
“We welcome and encourage viewers to tag us on social media in photos and videos of the formation with the hashtags: #TeamHickamSalutes, #AirForceSalutesHI, #FlyoverHawaii, #InThisTogether, #respondHINGwithAloha,” the release said.