Thunderbirds to fly over San Diego to salute health care workers

Posted at 1:21 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 15:08:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The Air Force Thunderbirds will take to the Southern California skies, visiting several San Diego hospitals in the process, on Friday.

At noon, six jets will fly over about 15 of San Diego hospitals. The show will last about 15 minutes. The Thunderbirds will continue north for flyovers in Orange and Los Angeles counties, getting to those areas around 1:10 p.m. with that flight lasting about 30 minutes.

One of the pilots, Lieutenant Colonel Kevin DiFalco, said the Thunderbirds are hoping to spread a message of unity.

The jets would usually be participating in air shows during this time, but with shows on hold, the team is now flying around the country with routes over hospitals as a way to salute health care heroes.

“So as you see it fly through the sky, even though you’ll see six airplanes in close formation, it looks like a single formation we’re in and really to me there’s no more powerful way to pass a message of unity”, DiFalco said.

This idea started after the first flight over Las Vegas, where the Thunderbirds are based. DiFalco said that flight was so successful that they decided to continue this mission. They’ve since flown with the Blue Angels in Florida and also flown over places like Texas and Chicago.

DiFalco said it’s special to see healthcare workers take a break from their busy days to get their own salute.

“Its very common to hear people say thank you to our military members and service members but now it’s our turn to say thank you back to those frontline workers in the medical community,” he said.

This flight over San Diego will stand out to DiFalco. His wife is from San Diego and her family will be watching from the ground as he flies above the region.