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Stunning cockpit video shows a joint flyover on Tuesday by the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels in honor of the first responders and essential workers who are continuing to perform their duties during the coronavirus outbreak.
Air Force Lt. Col. John Caldwell, who served as Thunderbird 1 and mission commander for the flyover, explained on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday how the idea came about.
“We were talking with the Navy Blue Angels early on, whenever we developed this concept to do these flyovers to kind of honor the first responders, the essential workers and the health care professionals and we had a chance to do a flyover over Las Vegas and we saw that people really responded well to it,” Caldwell said.
The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels then came up with the idea to “join forces” and “hit some of the towns that have been impacted by COVID-19 the most," he added.
Caldwell said the teams went to Pensacola, Fla. to train together with the goal of flying over New York City because it was the largest city “we could think of that was really battling COVID-19 in an extraordinary way.”
“So we got together with the FAA controllers, with all the air space controllers, [as well as with] local and state leaders and put together a plan and executed it yesterday,” he continued.
As of Wednesday morning, New York City reported 162,338 coronavirus cases and 17,682 deaths, according to data compiled by Fox News.
Tuesday’s flyover began around noon over the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and Manhattan and continued over New York City’s other boroughs before crossing parts of Long Island and Connecticut.
Then the teams conducted a similar display in and around the cities of Trenton, N.J., Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.
“There’s no playbook for what we did, there’s no blueprint. There’s no tactics. We had to develop them on the fly, which is why we spent a lot of time down here in Pensacola training out over the Gulf of Mexico trying to perfect our tactics,” Caldwell said.
“Flying 12 aircraft in close proximity all in close formation is a really difficult thing to do, so we had to make sure that we got it right and that is looked good,” he continued.
These missions are some of several that are planned in the weeks ahead.
Caldwell said missions in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore will take place on Saturday. He noted that the times have not yet been finalized. He said that the teams will then head to Atlanta.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.