Can COVID-19 alter the flightpath of a B-52 bomber, an F-22 Raptor or a C-17 Globemaster?
After scheduling its first on-base air show in more than a decade, Edwards Air Force Base — following the coronavirus outbreak — decided rather than bringing the people to its aircraft in eastern Kern County, it would bring its aircraft to the people.
For residents of Bakersfield, it could be the next best thing to an air show in the midday sky over your own backyard.
Between 11:20 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. Friday, a sky parade of some 16 high-value military aircraft are expected to fly over the city in a wide loop that has the potential to provide hundreds of thousands of residents with a look at some of the coolest jet aircraft in the world.
There's expected to be a pair of F-16 Fighting Falcons and a KC-135R Stratotanker, a military refueling aircraft, that fills up jet gas tanks in mid-flight.
A U.S. Air Force B-1 is scheduled to perform as are two F-22s, two F-35s, a big B-52, T-38s, and an F/A-18 from NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in eastern Kern.
Add to those a massive C-17 cargo and troop carrier, a C-20 and more.
According to Edwards, the flight path and schedule are fluid, making it tough to determine where to go for the best vantage points in the city.
"Hey, Bakersfield, Arvin, Lamont and Oildale! The route time and path may not be exact as mission requirements may change while in flight," the Air Force Base cautioned on its Facebook page.
According to a rough map of the flightpath provided by Edwards, the warplanes will be heading west before turning north somewhere near Lamont. A turn toward the west could take them over Oildale until another turn southward would shoot them across west Bakersfield.
Ultimately, the map shows them roughly following Highway 99 northward back toward downtown, before they turn east again and head toward home.
Again, Edwards suggests the map is a rough sketch, so keep your ears and eyes open.
Meanwhile, NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center has joined Edwards in this year’s hybrid Aerospace Valley Air Show. Instead of traveling to Edwards, NASA said in a news release, guests will view flyovers from home and participate virtually on social media and in STEM engagement activities.
"This educational partnership is extremely important for our STEM community," Monica Uribe, NASA education specialist, said in the release. "The program acts as a bridge between educators, students and their families to receive engaging hands-on activities and content knowledge. Our hope is to inspire students from a young age to pursue a career in STEM."
To view the schedule of educational activities and flyovers, visit avairshow.com.