MacDill KC-135 takeoff moved to 9:30 a.m. Friday due to possibility of inclement weather

Courtesy MacDill AFB

The scheduled takeoff of a pair of KC-135 refueling tankers from MacDill’s 6th Air Refueling Wing and 927th Air Refueling Wing has been moved from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday due to the possibility of inclement weather, but the flyover should remain at 10:30 as planned.

A spokesperson for MacDill Air Force Base said the previously-reported route of the flyover may change. See latest story here:

The planes will pass above the area’s major medical centers in a homegrown salute to COVID-19 first responders.

The Tampa Bay area got skipped in the first round of first-responder flyovers by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels, but the hometown folks at MacDill Air Force Base planned their own show of support.

MacDill is home to U.S. Central Command and U. S. Special Operations Command, in addition to the refueling wing. 

KC-135s are a common sight in the skies over South Tampa. (FOX 13 file photo)

A small medical team from the base was already deployed to New York City to help battle the outbreak there, as the 927th Air Refueling Wing’s commander pointed out.

RELATED: Despite age, tanker aircraft ‘invaluable' to America's military mission, commander says

Last week, the Blue Angels – who were scheduled to highlight this year’s now-canceled AirFest at MacDill – performed a flyby over Jacksonville and Miami after joint flyovers with the Thunderbirds in the Northeast. But their route by passed Tampa.

Friday, two KC-135 Stratotankers will leave the South Tampa base and start a loop around the bay, heading as far south as Sarasota.

The tankers will launch from MacDill at 9:30 a.m. and head south towards the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

After a short delay, the formation will head back north along the bay, turn south and follow I-75 to Sarasota, and then turn north through St. Petersburg before returning to the base over downtown. 

They will fly over these 12 hospitals and medical centers along their route:

- Tampa General (Davis Islands)

- Brandon Regional (Brandon)

- Riverview Regional (Riverview)

- South Bay Hospital (Sun City Center)

- Sarasota Memorial (Sarasota) 

- St. Anthony’s (St. Petersburg): 

- St. Pete General Women’s Hospital (St. Petersburg)

- Bay Pines VA (St. Petersburg)

- Largo Medical Center (Largo)

- Children’s Medical Center (Westchase)

- Tampa General North (Carrollwood)

- University of South Florida (North Tampa) 

- Tampa General (Davis Islands)

MAP: Click to enlarge route map

Residents are advised to stay home to watch the flyovers and not congregate in any mass gatherings.