HENDERSON, Nev. – The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds are scheduled to conduct a flyover at Allegiant Stadium during the national anthem performance when Las Vegas Raiders host the New Orleans Saints September 21 on Monday Night Football.
"The Raiders' decades long support of our military and those that serve our nation continues, as we have partnered with Nellis Air Force Base to welcome the hometown Thunderbirds to fly over Allegiant Stadium prior to our first home game in Las Vegas," said Raiders President Marc Badain.
The Thunderbirds' flyover prior to the first-ever NFL regular season game in Las Vegas will feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, soaring over the Allegiant Stadium at the moment the final notes of The Star-Spangled Banner are sung. The aircraft will take off from Nellis Air Force Base and start flying at low altitudes and emitting performance smoke at the intersection of I-15 and East Craig Road. They'll proceed parallel with I-15 towards Allegiant Stadium and flyover from the northeast to the southwest; and then return to Nellis AFB. Residents along the flight path can expect a few seconds of jet noise as the aircraft pass overhead.
"The Thunderbirds are honored to support the Raiders' first home game in Las Vegas," said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbirds commander and leader. "We look forward to showcasing the pride, precision and professionalism of our nation's 693,000 total force Airmen to football fans around the world; and welcoming the Raiders as neighbors in the city we call home."
The Thunderbirds have been stationed in Las Vegas since 1956. The team is composed of eight pilots, four support officers, 120 enlisted Airmen and three civilians serving in 28 Air Force job specialties. The Thunderbirds typically perform hour-long aerial demonstrations at air shows across the United States from March to November but most of their performances are canceled this year due to the coronavirus. In lieu of air shows, the team collaborated with the United States Navy Blue Angels to conduct multi-city flyovers as a salute to frontline coronavirus responders in April and May.
This is the team's third national sports event flyover in 2020 and the second time this year that the Thunderbirds have conducted a flyover at Allegiant Stadium. The famed Las Vegas-based air squadron flew over Allegiant Stadium on May 15 to honor healthcare workers and first responders. Since the unit's inception in 1953, more than 300 million people in all 50 states and 60 countries have witnessed the distinctive red, white and blue jets in thousands of official aerial demonstrations. For more information on the Thunderbirds, please check out afthunderbirds.com or follow @afthunderbirds on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.