Two large C-130 aircraft will be flying all around the state Wednesday morning, May 6th, to show support for first responders in the COVID-19 pandemic. Captain Cassandra Ross of the 120th Airlift Wing wrote in a news release that each airplane will fly a separate route - one covering Eastern Montana and the other flying mainly over Western Montana.

The Western flight will start from their home base in Great Falls at 10:15 a.m., then fly over the highline towns of Havre, Shelby and Browning, over Glacier National Park to Columbia Falls, Whitefish, reaching Kalispell at 11:45 a.m., south to Polson and Ronan, flying over Missoula at 12:15 p.m., then to Butte and Helena before returning to Great Falls. The published route does not include the Bitterroot Valley. The Eastern flight starts at Great Falls, heads to Lewistown, then over to Harlem, Wolf Point, Glendive, Miles City, Hardin, back to Billings, Livingston and flying over Bozeman at 1:30 p.m. before heading back to Great Falls.

The flights are part of the "Air Force Salutes" flyover program throughout the nation. Ross wrote: "The purpose of the flyovers is to demonstrate the Department of the Air Force's continued readiness during the national COVID-19 response, while saluting the American heroes at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19. The flyovers are also intended to lift morale in towns, cities and states across America ... "