Tuesday will be more than just another day at the office for the flight crew of the 109th Airlift Wing as it will take the LC-130 “Skibird” on a 12-city flyover to salute medical professionals, first responders and essential workers across the Capital Region.
Designated “Operation American Resolve,” the Air Force kicked off the program on April 28 when the Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration teams flew over New York and Long Island.
On Tuesday, it is the 109th Airlift Wing’s opportunity to do the same.
The LC-130 ‘Skibird’ will take off from Stratton Air National Guard Base at 11 a.m. and proceed west with an average speed of 241 mph, and then drop down to 500 feet over 12 different points of appreciation:
- St. Mary's Hospital, Amstersdam, at 11:04 a.m.
- Fonda, at 11:06
- Johnstown, at 11:07
- Nathan Littauer Hospital, Gloversville, at 11:08
- St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Utica, at 11:25
- Griffiss International Airport, Rome (the site of the Eastern Air Defense Sector) at 11:27
- Lake George, at 11:49
- Glens Falls Hospital, Glens Falls, at 11:51
- Saratoga Hospital, Saratoga Springs, at 11:55
- St. Mary's Hospitals and Samaritan Hospital, Troy, at 12:02 p.m.
- The State Capitol, Albany Medical Center, St. Peters Hospital, Stratton Veterans Administration Medical Center, Albany, at 12:06
- Ellis Hospital, Schenectady, at 12:13
The Air Force is not spending any additional funds on Tuesday’s flight.
“Pilots have to fly a certain number of hours each month in order to remain proficient,” said Eric Durr from the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs in a phone interview. “This is just taking the training hours that the pilots must fly and then turning it into something else.
“Instead of doing a strictly tactical flight plan, going out over Lake Ontario or something like that where we have military operating areas, you are flying in places where people can see the aircraft and tie it into, 'Hey, we want to say thanks for the great job you are doing.’”
The six-person Airman crew includes: Maj. Brandon Caldwell, from Broadalbin, the Aircraft Commander; Lt. Col. Matthew Sala, from Halfmoon, the co-pilot; Maj. Jefferson Wood, from Burnt Hills, the navigator; Sr. Master Sgt. Christopher Collins, from Stillwater, the flight engineer; Chief Master Sgt. Raymond Morgan, from Galway, the loadmaster and Lt. Col. Kimberly Peregrim, from Latham, flight surgeon.
"Our crew is honored and humbled to have an opportunity to show our support and respect for the people on the frontline," Caldwell said in a press release. "We are very grateful for our first responders, medical professionals, and the essential workers that are getting us through this difficult time. They are the best of America."
The LC-130 will be easy to spot with its 132-foot wingspan, 97-foot length and 90-thousand pound operating weight along with its pair of six-foot wide skis underneath for landing on snow or ice surfaces throughout Antarctica and wheels for landing locally.
“The thing about a C-130 flyover compared to a fighter jet is that it’s there for a long time,” Durr said. “It’s not like ‘Woosh, what did I miss?’ You have plenty of time.”
Contact Stan Hudy at [email protected].