National Guard plans low-altitude F-15 flyover

A group of F-15 fighter jets will be flying over eastern and southeastern Massachusetts on Thursday as part of a planned training and media mission, officials said.

The 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard will fly five of its F-15 Eagle fighter jets from its Westfield base to Hanscom Air Force Base, where the flyover will begin at about 8:10 a.m., said Lieutenant Colonel James Sahady, spokesman for the Massachusetts National Guard.

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The jets will then speed through the area’s skies, from Salem to Cape Cod and the islands, until about 9 a.m., eventually landing back at their base in Westfield.

“The intent of this event is twofold: To enhance the pilots training, and to also promote the mission of the Massachusetts Air National Guard,” Sahady said.

For training purposes, the jets typically fly at 10,000 feet or above, Sahady said. However, on Thursday the jets will be flying at an unusually low altitude of 1,000 feet.

“Make sure you have your earplugs. It could get loud,” he said.

Sahady said photographer Jim “Hazy” Haseltine will be aboard one of the planes, taking pictures for National Guard Magazine, Air Force Magazine, and Combat Aircraft Monthly.

The 104th Fighter Wing is one of the oldest flying units in the state, according to a statement from the Massachusetts National Guard.

“The F-15 fighter jets are from the same Massachusetts Air National Guard unit that provides continuous protection of the Northeast corridor of the United States through the 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert,” a Massachusetts National Guard statement said.

The jets are expected to pass over these locations at the following times: Salem at 8:13 a.m.; the State House, 8:15; Fenway Park, 8:18; turn at Norwood Airport, 8:21; Gillette Stadium, 8:25; Cape Cod, 8:32; Nantucket, 8:42; Martha’s Vineyard, 8:50; and then back to the Westfield base at about 9:15 a.m.

Trisha Thadani can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.