Operation America Strong: Blue Angel and Thunderbird Flyovers Confirmed By Pentagon and White House

Operation America Strong - USAF Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels - AirshowStuff

In a stunning piece of news, the nation-wide series of flyovers that we first discussed on Monday was confirmed by President Trump today during a White House press conference. The US Navy Blue Angels and the US Air Force Thunderbirds are preparing for what is being called Operation America Strong. Flyovers of cities across the country will take place over the next few weeks in what Pentagon officials are reportedly calling a “non-partisan show of resolve”.

This confirms the core of the leaked schedule posted to social media on Sunday, which listed out flyovers by both teams, including several joint appearances. Exact cities and dates are not yet confirmed, so it appears to be an early draft.

Since our previous post, both teams were spotted flying together over Pensacola, where the Blue Angels are based. A draft air traffic control bulletin leaked and sparked wider rumors of an East Coast flyover today, prompting the Blue Angels to state publicly that they have no flyovers planned and that 48 hours notice would be given if any flyovers did get planned.

It now seems apparent that the flyovers are being planned, but are not necessarily finalized. Organizing these flights is an even more massive task than many realize, down to coordinating aerial refueling to prevent stopovers at bases along the way. Just one day of flyovers is rumored to require at least four KC-10 tankers to escort the teams and their 14 combined jets. The military is also very conscious of discouraging travel and large gatherings.

Where will the teams be flying? Here’s the list of cities that was original leaked online. It seems likely that these will be included in the final plan, but we emphasize that these are not yet confirmed. Each group of cities would likely represent a day of flying.

Joint East Coast Flyover Part 1

  • NYC
  • Newark
  • Philadelphia

Joint East Coast Flyover Part 2

  • Washington D.C.
  • Baltimore
  • Atlanta

Thunderbirds Southwest Flyover

  • New Orleans
  • Oklahoma City

Blue Angels Southeast Flyover

  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Tampa
  • Tallahassee

Blue Angels Midwest Flyover

  • Nashville
  • Indianapolis
  • Detroit
  • Chicago

Thunderbirds Southern California Flyover

  • San Diego
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco

Blue Angels Hampton Roads Flyover

  • Norfolk
  • Virginia Beach

Thunderbirds Pacific Northwest Flyover

  • Portland
  • Seattle

Joint Texas Flyover

  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Austin
  • Kingsville / Corpus Christi
  • San Antonio

Other areas may be added. An article in the Washington Post, which seems based on a memo given to them prior to the press conference, says that other military units may participate in areas not covered by the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels. Bombers and other units may conduct flybys of their home states as part of training missions, for example.

One more piece of stunning news arrived around the same time as the press conference – the Thunderbirds have been spotted trailing blue and red colored smoke over Pensacola! Foreign jet teams frequently inject colored dye into their smoke trails to paint their national colors across the sky. The US teams have used them in the past, but have since rejected the idea citing additional maintenance and technical challenges. It seems they may be trying to work out the kinks before taking the show on the road; we’ll see if it sticks around.

Stay tuned here on our blog and in our forums as we bring you more details about this very unusual story!

14 Responses

  1. Matthew Sikes

    Abilene Texas gets screwed again. We were supposed to have the Blues perform here in May 9th & 10th.

  2. David kurtz

    Ain’t no way Cleveland ohio not on that list we have the #1 hospital the Cleveland clinic and university hospitals some of the best doctors and nurses in the country and had a big number of covid 19 patients not fare to do some and not while all air shows are canceled I’m just saying though

  3. Star Novak

    The Midwest (in my opinion) would be Kansas City, Omaha or St. Louis, and not so Far East as Indy!

  4. V

    Huh! I did not know that Oklahoma City and New Orleans were the Southwest! –from Arizona

  5. Larry Vanscoy

    Would love to know when they are flying over the Tampa Bay Area?

  6. Lauren

    Boston is one of the more heavily hit areas.

    Please flyover – we miss you!

  7. Perry

    Terrific – but Boston is really hard hit and I know we would love to participate in giving this gift to our hard-working responders!

  8. Susan Davis

    How do we find out the dates for Dallas, TX? I heard it was this Saturday but no information has appeared on our news media.

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