RICHMOND, Va. -- The Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team and Air Force Heritage Flight will fly over Central and Eastern Virginia Tuesday to salute everyone on the frontlines in the COVID-19 fight.
“I’m honored to represent JBLE, the 1st Fighter Wing and the Virginia Air National Guard with this flyover saluting those that are keeping our communities safe during this difficult time,” Maj. Joshua “Cabo” Gunderson, F-22 Raptor Demo Team commander, said.
Gunderson joined the Air Force in 2004 and graduated from the Air Force academy in 2008. He’s now stationed in Virginia after training in Oregon, Japan and Alaska.
He is an experienced combat proven Fighter Pilot with over 1,500 hours and two deployments to the Middle East in both the F-15 and F-22.
The Florida-native will pilot the F-22 Raptor, which is considered the Air Force’s preeminent air to air fighter.
Two World War II-era P-51 Mustangs from the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation will join Gunderson on his trip.
“We hope they will accept this historic flyover as a small token of gratitude for all they’re doing to fight our common enemy. We can’t thank them enough for their sacrifice and service,” Gunderson stated.
They will fly 1000 feet overhead at 250 miles per hour past 38 designated locations.
“What we've picked in terms of locations include hospitals, police stations, fire stations, distribution centers — things that we can do to overfly and thank the first responders that are fighting COVID-19 right now,” Gunderson explained.
The flyover will takeoff from Joint Base Langley-Eustis and will proceed north to Richmond before returning south through Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk and finishing in Virginia Beach.
“Virginia residents should watch from the safety of their home-quarantine and should refrain from traveling to see the flyover,” a spokesperson for the event urged. “Citizens should also maintain social distancing and follow Governor Northam’s order to avoid large gatherings.”
The average trip by car down Interstate 64 from Richmond to Virginia Beach takes about an hour and 45 minutes. The pilots will make their trip in approximately 30 minutes, which is considered slow for those aircrafts.
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