By Jasmine Willis
GENESEO — The first thank you flight was such a powerful success last month that those in charge decided to do another one.
The Second Flight “Operation Thank You From Above” will encompass the Southern Tier. The first one went through Dansville and Attica. It was welcomed by so many enthusiastic bystanders, health care personnel, first responders, essential workers, veterans, and others.
The National Warplane Museum in Geneseo has collaborated with Todd Cameron, of OnCore Aviation in Rochester.
The Whiskey 7 and P-51 Mustang “Mad Max” will make its second mission from Geneseo on June 6 at 10 a.m. towards Watkins Glen. The towns that will be honored in this flyover include Geneseo, Bemus Point, Jamestown, Salamanca, Bradford, PA, Allegany NY, Olean, Wellsville, Andover, Alfred, Hornell, Bath, Savona, Campbell, Coopers Plains, Painting Post, Corning, Horseheads, Elmira, Chemung, Vestal, Binghamton, Johnson City, Oxford, Norwich, Cortland, Ithaca, Watkins Glen, and Penn Yan. The warplanes will return to the museum base in Geneseo.
Many hospitals, rehab centers, first responders, and residents will be able to witness the message from above.
Cameron said the first mission was such a powerful success the team knew they had to do another one. Everyone involved in this event was so blown away by the response from all the communities.
“This all came together organically. We had to close down the museum like every other business. We knew the Whiskey 7 is loved by so many people. We wanted to think of a way to say thank you. We ended up reaching about 60.5 million people on the first mission through various media and social media platforms. It was the largest flyover of this kind to be done. It was the most tracked plane in the world in a single day,” Cameron said. “We will have about 65 check points in our second mission. It will be a four-hour flight with a fuel stop in Binghamton. We plan to have as much success with this one as we did with the first one. There will be a way to track where the plane is on the Facebook event page.”
Cameron said this entire mission is to say thank you to all those who are on the frontlines during this Covid 19 Crisis. It thanks the health care workers, first responders, and essential workers who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.
“We had hospital staff and faculty go up on the helicopter pads to wave to us as we flew above them. It really tugs at the heart strings. We have tried to pass on main streets and down cities as well. We have seen paratroopers from World War Two who are in rehab centers come out and cry watching us flyover. That is what this is all about,” Cameron added.
This will be the 76 Year Anniversary of D-Day. Instead of bringing young men to the beaches of Normandy this old warplane is going to be flying over hospitals to say thank you for your service.
Cameron said every town is different in how they handle the flyover event. The town of Attica had the entire Attica Correctional Prison filled with flashing trucks and ambulances to appreciate the efforts. Everyone is ready for some good news, and we must all remember to keep to the rules of the health department. Remember if you take part in this event in any way you must wear masks and practice social distancing.
You will all see two WWII warplanes flyover several towns, cities, and communities to honor those who have worked so hard to keep us alive. You will be able to track them on the National Warplane Museum Facebook page. The entire event is run on donations. If you would like to make a donation visit the museum website and go to the event page. If you are a business who would like to sponsor this event for any price you can contact Cameron at 585-281-3738.
The takeoff is at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo at 10 am on June 6. From there you can track the flight on social media. A third plane will follow the flight for air photos only and is not part of the warplane mission flight. Visit the website for more information and to donate https://nationalwarplanemuseum.com/operation-thanks-from-above/Visit the Facebook to keep up with the event and flyover locations https://www.facebook.com/warplanemuseum