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F-16 flyovers a big part of many Utah parades

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Jul. 4, 2011 at 4:34 p.m.


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HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- There's nothing like a good old fashioned 4th of July parade rolling through town to make people clap and cheer.

Many Utahns spent their Monday holiday watching floats and marching bands stroll through their local streets. Some even saw two parades, if they timed them right.

Jim Greenwald, who lives in Bountiful, saw 13 parades -- all in one day.

"The hardest part was trying to figure how I was going to be able to get over all the parades while they were still happening," said Greenwald.


This event -- because it involves so many flyovers -- is a little more complicated than most.

–Lt. Col. Jim Greenwald


Of course, being the pilot of an F-16 jet helps.

Greenwald is actually Lt. Colonel Greenwald, and was the parade flyover leader for Hill Air Force Base's 419th Fighter Wing.

"I started planning this about a month ago, contacting all the event organizers" said Lt. Col. Greenwald. "This event -- because it involves so many flyovers -- is a little more complicated than most."

Keep in mind, Lt. Col. Greenwald has flown more than 3400 hours in an F-16 and has completed eight combat tours in Southwest Asia. Parade duty is another animal altogether.

"It's a lot of work, but I love it," said Lt. Col. Greenwald.

Hill Air Force Base has been providing flyovers for July 4th parades in Utah for more than 25 years.

This July 4th, the team flew over parades in West Point, Murray, Provo, Richfield, Delta, Clearfield, Hooper, Riverdale, North Ogden, Huntsville, Morgan, Vernal, and Park City.

"I'm very honored to do it," said Lt. Col. Chris Robinson, who is originally from Salt Lake City. "It's a great opportunity to pay back the local communities for them giving us their sons and daughters to serve in the military."


It's a lot of work, but I love it

–Lt. Col. Jim Greenwald


Major Jon Larsen and Major Scott LaRoche were also part of the four jet team flyovers.

And here's a little fun fact; even though parade goers only see four F-16's, there are actually five flying; one flies further back.

"That's in case one has a little problem and needs to land," said Sgt. Colin Wood, who is an aircraft mechanic at Hill Air Force Base. "The other one is there for backup to make more noise."

It's important to keep the tradition of four planes for flyovers. But it's even more important to keep people smiling.

Cities or events that would like an F-16 flyover must seek the approval of the Pentagon before any plane is allowed to fly, which can take about six months to be approved.

To put in a request to have an F-16 flyover an event or city, click here.

Email: acabrero@ksl.com

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Alex Cabrero

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