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No fans at the 500, but there will be a military flyover

Up in the sky, it's the Air Force Thunderbirds
Posted at 10:46 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 22:47:29-04

There may not be any fans inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday's 500, but one great prerace tradition is not going away.

The Air Force Thunderbirds will perform a prerace flyover on Sunday. “America’s Ambassadors in Blue” – officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron – will fly in their signature “Delta” formation over IMS.

“It’s a great privilege for IMS to welcome the United States Air Force Thunderbirds for the prerace flyover for the 104th Indianapolis 500,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “The race always has paid tribute to the dedicated service and sacrifice of men and women of America’s Armed Forces and is a celebration of patriotic pride, and the precision and skill of these elite Thunderbirds pilots will be appreciated by the worldwide television audience and also by the residents of Indianapolis and Central Indiana as they look to the skies.”

The Thunderbirds feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter aircraft.

Assigned to Air Combat Command, the squadron is composed of 12 officers and more than 120 enlisted personnel serving in nearly 30 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.