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Air National Guard flyover to honor first responders

A search and rescue plane and two rescue helicopters assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach will conduct a flyover across Eastern Long Island on Friday to salute healthcare, essential workers and first responders dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The flyover will begin at about 12:15 p.m. over Riverhead and will conclude by 1 p.m. ending over Jones Beach, according to an ANG press release.

Those times are subject to change based on weather or other conditions. 

Updated information can be found on the 106th Rescue Wing’s Facebook page. 

The flyover will feature one of the wing’s HC-130J search and rescue aircraft and two HH-60G rescue helicopters flying in formation.

“From the men and women of the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing, it is an honor to show our support and thanks to the many first responders, medical workers, essential personnel and military members out there working hard during these challenging times for us all,” said Col. Michael Bank, the commander of the 106th Rescue Wing.

“This is our aerial salute to you all. Thank you,” he said. 

The flyover will take off from Gabreski Air National Giard shortly and will go over Riverhead, Rocky Point, East Setauket, Stony Brook, Holtsville, Blue Point, Sayville, Bay Shore, Massapequa, finishing at Jones Beach.

The flights cost no extra taxpayer dollars because the pilots and aircrews are required to fly each month to remain qualified, and the skills involved in conducting a flyover are the same skills crews use in combat, according to the ANG. 

The flyover is part of nationwide series of flyovers dubbed Air Force Salutes, aimed at recognizing those working to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.