Seymour Johnson F-15 flyovers honor those fighting COVID-19 in Eastern North Carolina

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Fighter jets from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro are expected to fly low over more than a half dozen hospitals and medical centers in Eastern North Carolina on Friday morning to pay tribute to health care workers and first responders fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

Four F-15E Strike Eagles from the 4th Fighter Wing are scheduled to loop around the state starting in Wilmington at 9:45 a.m. Among the hospitals they will fly over are Johnston UNC Health Care in Clayton and Smithfield shortly after 10:15 a.m.

The jets will fly at an altitude of about 1,000 feet when they pass over each hospital, said fighter wing spokesman Jacob Derry.

The flyover is a North Carolina version of ones over New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia on Tuesday. The Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds passed over hospitals there in tribute to health care and other essential workers still on the job during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Air Force says people won’t need to be near the hospitals to see the F-15Es.

“Residents will be able to observe the tribute from the safety of their own neighborhoods, and are asked to practice social distancing guidelines, not gather in groups, and wear masks around persons other than those living in their household,” Seymour Johnson said in announcing the flyover.

Among the other places on the flyover route are Onslow Memorial Hospital and Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonsville; Lenoir UNC Health Care in Kinston; Vidant Medical Center in Greenville; Wilson Medical Center and Wayne UNC Health Care in Goldsboro.

The Triangle will get a civilian flyover on Saturday, when dozens of general aviation planes based at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Triangle North Executive Airport in Louisburg plan a hospital flyover.

Starting at 11:30 a.m., the planes, flying about a mile apart, will pass over hospitals in Franklin, Orange, Durham and Wake counties, with the lead plane releasing smoke at each site, according to Bo Carson, manager of Triangle North Executive Airport, where the flyover will begin.

Original Article Source: News & Observer