Sept. 7, 2020

Aircraft operators are invited to participate in “America’s Operation Thank You: Relay in the Sky,” a tribute to healthcare professionals and first responders.

Designed as a way for the general aviation community to honor those who have been putting their lives on the line during the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation Thank You will consist of 98 flight legs, with three volunteer aircraft targeted for each leg.

Organizer Spirit of Liberty Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, has created a composite 3-foot-tall lighted torch that will be transported on each leg. At each stop, state and local officials, along with honorees, will greet the flights with a short ceremony at one of the participating FBOs.

Flags and banners will be left behind at each stop to permanently commemorate Operation Thank You. Each pilot who flies will receive a personalized certificate of participation honoring their individual contribution to the project.

“Participating in ‘Operation Thank You: Relay in the Sky’ will be a lasting story to tell,” said Spirit of Liberty Foundation Chairman Richard Rovsek. “This project is more than just a ‘thank you’ and an honor. It will demonstrate the power of general aviation and lift the spirits of healthcare workers and first responders across the country.”

The first relay flight will launch from San Diego, CA, on Sept. 23, with the final leg scheduled to land in Washington, DC, on Oct. 30. View the route map.

Map for America’s Operation Thank You: Relay in the Sky

“NBAA is proud to support this inspiring initiative,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “It’s a chance to literally carry the torch across the country to honor the unsung heroes whose leadership has been critical in the pandemic. ”

Joining NBAA will be the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Air Transportation Association, Commemorative Air Force and others in the general aviation community.

FBO sponsors at all airports will host local dignitaries as well as healthcare workers and first responders. The American Hospital Association also is participating by arranging for groups of doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and other health care workers to greet each incoming flight.

Learn more about Relay in the Sky.

Register to take part in Relay in the Sky.