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Thunderbirds
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Ross Stone

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will fly over L.A. on Friday. Here’s where and when you can see them.

The famed aerobatic team is visiting SoCal to salute frontline responders.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano
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Nope, for once that isn’t the sound of a helicopter: It’s the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

The famed aerobatic team is taking a brief vacation from its base in Nevada to salute hospital workers and first responders in Southern California on Friday, May 15.

It’ll all happen pretty quickly—these are jets that travel at hundreds of miles an hour, after all—so you’ll want to scope out the schedule beforehand. But two quick housekeeping items first: The Air Force is asking that you view the flyover from your own home instead of traveling elsewhere. And they also ask that you maintain social distancing when trying to view the flyover.

Here’s the rundown: The Thunderbirds will pass over Dana Point around 1:35pm, head north to circle around L.A. and then back south and east of Santa Around around 2pm. So we don’t know exactly when they’ll fly over each area of L.A., but we do know:

  • In that half-hour block of time they’ll travel north through Orange County between the coast and the 5
  • Around Anaheim they’ll veer north to El Monte
  • From there, they’ll swoop across Monterey Park, East L.A. and on the southern edge of DTLA
  • Then the jets will parallel the north side of the 10 on their way to Santa Monica
  • They’ll cruise south along the coast for a little before heading back inland around Hermosa Beach
  • Near the intersection of the 110 and the 91 they’ll head toward Long Beach and then along the OC coastline
  • By Newport Beach, they’ll turn back inland toward Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and then the Santa Ana Mountains

And that’s just in that first half hour. From 2 to 2:10pm they’ll do a loop around Riverside, and then from 3:05 to 3:10pm they’ll cross over Camarillo and Simi Valley toward Santa Clarita. Also, do note that all of those times are subject to change—but we’ll update this story if that’s the case.

In the meantime, check out a map of the flyover route below.

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