Flyover Monday: Local Volunteer Pilots Salute Medical Workers, First Responders

May 15, 2020

On Monday, May 18, local formation flight team Chile Flight will perform an aerial salute in honor of local medical professionals, first responders, and all essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“These individuals have worked tirelessly to keep us safe and to keep essential services running during this difficult, unprecedented time,” said Guy Jones, pilot with Chile Flight. “This is an opportunity for us to do what we love while showing support for our community.” 

The salute pass will begin at approximately 8:00 am, making its way down Central Avenue from Nob Hill to Downtown and on into the West Central corridor, in a multi-ship formation. In addition to the rumble of the engines, liquid smoke trails will be visible as the aircraft pass through. 

Chile Flight is comprised of eight pilots and aviation enthusiasts who volunteer their time and aircraft to support community events, including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and Albuquerque Isotopes games. No public funds are being used for this event. 

“The spirit of One Albuquerque has been on display throughout the coronavirus pandemic,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “These private individuals giving their time and resources to this salute is a testament to the community of kindness that makes Burqueños so special.” 

The flight team, composed of retired military officers, engineers, physicians, and a former aerobatics competitor, has been flying together for eight years and has completed nearly 500 formation flights together. The pilots volunteer their time and aircraft, including the cost of fuel, for each flight as a way to show support for the community. The single engine, propeller aircrafts they pilot are highly maneuverable, making formation flights easier and safer. 

Owned and operated by the City of Albuquerque’s Aviation Department, the Albuquerque International Sunport is New Mexico’s largest commercial airport, welcoming over 5 million passengers each year. Served by 8 major carriers, the Sunport offers non-stop service between ABQ and more than 20 destinations, all with worldwide connectivity. The Albuquerque International Sunport is the Gateway of New Mexico.