Enormous Jets Soar Over SoCal in a Big Thank-You to Frontline Workers

Three flyovers are planned for Thursday before the Air Force Thunderbirds take to the skies on Friday

NBC Universal, Inc.

Large military aircraft roared over parts of Southern California Thursday in an airborne salute to healthcare workers and others on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

The behemoth C-17 Globemaster III, a KC-135 Stratotanker, two C130J Super Hercules and a B-52 were set to take to the skies in parts of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties Thursday. On Friday, the Air Force Thunderbirds will fly over San Diego and Los Angeles counties.

Live video will be provided above when available.

Here's what to know about Thursday's flyovers. Times listed below are approximate.

This midday flyover was one of several military jet salutes in the SoCal sky on Thursday. Video broadcast Thursday May 14, 2020 on the NBC4 News at 11 a.m.

Antelope Valley

A B-52 aircraft from Edwards Air Force Base 412th Test Wing passed over hospitals and other locations late Thursday morning. The flyover was scheduled to pass over city hall in Lancaster, the LA County Lancaster Sheriff's Station, hospitals and other locations in the region.

Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

In Riverside and San Bernardino counties, two huge jets -- one used for freight transport and the other for aerial refueling -- soared over medical centers, rocking their wings in tribute. The 90-minute flyovers from March Air Reserve Base began around 1 p.m. and featured a massive C-17 Globemaster III, which hauls cargo, and a KC-135 Stratotanker, which is an air-to-air refueling jet.

The flyovers were part of a training flight. Both planes and their crews -- all Air Force reservists -- are attached to the 452nd Air Mobility Wing.

"These flyovers incur no additional cost to the taxpayer," according to a Wing statement. "Residents in the areas should be able to see the KC-135 and the C-17 from the safety of their homes."

Under Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the heavy jets must stay a minimum of 1,000 feet above populated areas, but they generally fly higher than that for safety, according to military officials.


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LA and Ventura Counties

At 2 p.m., a formation of two C130J Super Hercules aircraft flown by the 115th Airlift Squadron will begin a flyover in the Palmdale area and continue through parts of Los Angeles County before ending in Ventura County.

Here's a list of locations.

  • Palmdale Regional Medical Center, Palmdale
  • Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Valencia
  • Adventist Health Simi Valley
  • Los Robles Regional Medical Center, Thousand Oaks
  • St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital, Camarillo
  • St. John's Regional Medical Center, Oxnard
  • Community Memorial Hospital, Ventura
  • Ventura County Medical Center, Ventura
  • Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara
  • Ojai Valley Community Hospital, Ojai
"Operation America Strong" paired the US Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds in a coordinated flyover over New York City on Tuesday

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