Where Austin can see Thunderbirds' flyover salute to coronavirus workers


By AMANDA O'DONNELL AND KELSEY BRADSHAW | Austin American-Statesman | Published: May 9, 2020

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(Tribune News Service) — The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have released a detailed route for a salutatory flyover set for Austin and San Antonio Wednesday.

The Air Force's demonstration squadron will fly its F-16 Fighting Falcons over the Central Texas cities to honor front-line workers and health care professionals serving in the coronavirus pandemic.

The flight was originally planned for Tuesday but postponed because of weather. Wednesday's planned flyover could similarly be delayed or postponed because of weather, according to the route announcement on the Thunderbirds' Twitter account.

While the flyover will make for a nice show, skies over Austin will be overcast throughout the day with a 20% chance of rain lasting into the evening, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

No severe weather is expected with the minimal rain chance and daytime temperatures will reach the mid-80s, forecasters said.

The Austin flyover will start at 2:40 p.m. and end at 3:15 p.m. The squadron will first fly over Leander before circling over Georgetown, Round Rock and Pflugerville and then pass over downtown Austin, flying along Interstate 35. It will then circle around to Lakeway and South Austin before returning to fly over I-35 through Buda and Kyle.

Residents on the route can expect a few minutes of jet noise as the planes pass overhead.

Last week, a similar flyover was conducted by the U.S. Navy's demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, over Dallas and Houston.

The demonstrations are part of the Pentagon's "Operation American Strong" mission, in which the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels fly over major American cities "to thank first responders, essential personnel, and military service members as we collectively battle the spread of COVID-19." Some of these flyovers feature both squadrons, while some are flown individually.

Air Force officials discourage traveling to view the flyover and encourage observers to maintain social distancing and avoid gathering in large groups while watching.

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