PENSACOLA, Fla. — The Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron soared into the blue skies over Florida on Friday to perform a series of extended flyovers to salute healthcare professionals and essential personnel.
The Blue Angels are performing a series of flights every few days to thank the medical facilities and hospital staff. The squadron is performing a series of flights over the eastern United States during May.
“The America Strong initiative is a way for the Blue Angels to show appreciation to the thousands of nurses, doctors, firefighters, grocery store employees, military personnel, and others who are at the front line of the pandemic response,” Blue Angels Boss and flight leader Cmdr. Brian Kesselring said on Thursday. “This is our opportunity to salute each American in the fight against COVID-19.”
The Blue Angels departed their home base at NAS Pensacola to begin the short hop over to the skies above Jacksonville. Flying in a six-aircraft delta formation, the squadron flew smoke-on over the Atlantic coastline starting at 11:39 a.m. EDT.
As the squadron left Jacksonville airspace en route to Miami they were met by an Air Force aircraft. Two KC-10 Extenders from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst’s 305th Air Refueling Wing, refueled the Blues’ F/A-18 Hornets twice on Friday.
The KC-10s refueled the jets over the St. Augustine prior to the Jacksonville flyovers. They again rejoined with the Navy squadron east of Lake Okeechobee prior to Miami.
The Blue Angels arrived over north Miami at 1 p.m. to first flyover Boca Raton Medical Center. They flew over several more hospital facilities as they flew as far south as Homestead.
Six Sun-lite blue and gold jets then turned north to flyover medical facilities across western Miami. They concluded over West Boca Medical Center at 1:26 p.m.
The Blue Angels will likely announce a new schedule of location flyovers on or before Monday. With their air show season delayed until at least July, the Blue Angels are focused on America Strong flights.
(Charles A. Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)