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Thunderbirds to fly over Raiders home game national anthem

Posted at 11:13 AM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 14:40:20-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas's own elite unit of pilots, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, will welcome the new Las Vegas Raiders to town with a flyover of Allegiant Stadium ahead of their inaugural home game.

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The Thunderbirds will time their pass of the stadium to the moment the last note of the national anthem is played ahead of kick-off.

“The Thunderbirds are honored to support the Raiders’ first home game in Las Vegas,” said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbirds commander and leader.

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“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 pilots will launch from Nellis in six F-16 Fighting Falcons and begin emitting smoke in formation near the intersection of Craig Road and Interstate 15.

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They will continue flying low south down I-15 to the stadium and time their pass to the national anthem around 5:15 p.m.

Thunderbird 3 Pilot Michael Brewer says the flyover is an opportunity to unify Las Vegas and welcome the Raiders into a town the Thunderbirds have called home since 1956.

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"It's a moment for us to all stand proud and just be excited to be here and be a part of such an amazing experience," Maj. Brewer said, "it's really special here in Las Vegas because it's opening day for a brand new team."

"It gives everyone here in Vegas," he said, "which is our hometown something to latch on to, and really be excited about for them to be here."

The Thunderbirds warned people who will be along the flight path that they will hear jet noise during the flyover.