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Here's what the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels overflight in New York looked like

April 28, 2020
4 min read
Here's what the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels overflight in New York looked like
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People in New York City and surrounding areas were treated on Tuesday to a low-level overflight by the U.S. Air Force and Navy's demonstration teams, the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels. At noon, the fighter jets appeared in formation over the city in the first of several overflights of U.S. cities planned to show support for first responders and essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Later Tuesday, the two teams are performing an overflight of Philadelphia.

The jets — F-16s in the red, white and blue of the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels F-18s in blue and gold — appeared from the north at noon over the Bronx, then flew down the Hudson River between Manhattan and New Jersey, where TPG Executive Editorial Director Scott Mayerowitz filmed them from the Upper West Side of Manhattan as they flew southbound. Audience and Community Producer Wallace Cotton and Senior Associate Andrea Flynn caught them in videos and still images over other parts of the city.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_iITlAHLSu/

The two teams then veered over New Jersey and reappered over Manhattan before slicing at low level — the city's emergency notification Twitter feed had said on Tuesday they would be as low as 1,500 feet — over Brooklyn, where I captured them over my roof, so low that they couldn't be framed in a single shot.

(Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

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Every borough of the city got a view — and an earful — of the jets, which also overflew Staten Island and Queens as well as parts of Long Island and Connecticut. The Blue Angels had published the route in advance on their Facebook page.

With many air shows canceled for the summer, the prime season for aviation events, the two aerobatic teams suddenly found themselves with time on their hands, while their pilots still needed to maintain proficiency and flight hours. A weekslong program of overflights throughout the U.S. is a way to address that problem, although the teams will not perform aerobatics over cities. The closest they got to over New York on Tuesday was close formation flying — far less close, though, than what they do at air shows, where the Blue Angels especially are known for precise flying with their wingtips just inches apart.

The Washington Post reported, citing senior government officials and a memo, that the military had planned the tour to “champion national unity.” The Post also reported that while the cost of the initiative could be $60,000 an hour, the money was already in the Pentagon’s budget. The memo cited by the newspaper said joint flyovers by the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds will also happen in Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Austin — but the list could change.

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On Tuesday, New Yorkers could be seen in at least two locations in Manhattan watching the overflight closer together than social distancing guidelines suggest. The Navy warned in a Facebook post announcing the overflight that “residents should observe the flyover from the safety of their home-quarantine and should refrain from traveling to see the flyover. Social distancing should be practiced at all times.” However, that's apparently not what many New Yorkers did. TPG Weekend Editor Jane Frye, who watched from the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, reported that people were close together — and also witnessed an unexpected additional show. Not to be outdone, the New York City Police Department flew one of its helicopters at ultra-low-level over the Hudson.

Featured image by Alberto Riva

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees