For the ninth consecutive year, visitors celebrating Independence Day on South Carolina beaches will be treated to a flyover of military planes.
South Carolina Air National Guard F-16 jets from McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover and a collection of vintage warbirds will fly down the coast from the North Carolina state line to the Georgia border on Wednesday afternoon.
Salute to the Shore board member Andy Folsom said the flyover reminds South Carolinians why they can celebrate our nation’s independence with beach trips and cookouts.
“They are able to do all of that because of the protection and freedom that our military provides,” he said. “So we wanted to create a way to thank our military and their families for all they do to protect us.”
This year organizers have two new special additions planned: after leaving the coast, the F-16s will fly over Lake Murray before returning to McEntire.
“If you cannot get out to see the planes on the coast then you’ve got an option in the Midlands as well,” Folsom said. “To be able to open that up to a whole new group of people is very exciting for us.”
The flyover will also be streamed on Facebook Live for the first time this year.
“Anybody from around the world will be able to see the jets fly down the coast live,” Folsom said.
Not only do the coastal vacationers enjoy the flyover, the flight crews enjoy the holiday mission.
Folsom said because the vintage planes do not fly as fast as the F-16s, they will be spread out after flying over Myrtle Beach. As the flight progresses south down the coast, the planes will separate. By the time the group reaches Hilton Head, the propeller planes could be 35 to 45 minutes behind the jets.
“Hopefully about 10 vintage planes,” he said. “So if you’re on the coast, be patient. They’ll be there eventually.”
Folsom said he’s enjoyed the way the event has grown in nine years. Click here for a link to photos from previous years. You also can contribute your photos to the Salute from the Shore on social media and its website.
“The response has grown over the years, which is really wonderful. It’s exactly what we’re trying to do,” he said. “It’s a really rewarding experience to be on the coast and see the planes fly over. To be able to share that with different generations of families, it’s always something we get feedback on.
Weather permitting, Salute to the Shore is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the North Carolina border. The flight is expected to reach the Georgia border around 1:30 and the jets are expected to reach Lake Murray by 1:15. Click here for more information.