Viral video: 'Royal Maces' Navy fighter pilots
YOKOHAMA, Japan — A high-definition video of U.S. Navy fighter pilots swooping between snowy mountains and skimming the western Pacific Ocean has gained more than 135,000 hits since being posted four days ago.
The VFA-27 Royal Maces, based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan, shot the footage from their cockpits while flying F/A18-E aircraft at various locations in the Pacific theater.
Much of the footage comes from recent patrols while deployed with the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, pilot Lt. Kyle Matson said. Footage includes trips along the Australian coast and various parts of Japan. Some of the most dramatic footage shows the aircraft maneuvering its way through the Japanese Alps.
“It’s a low-level route we fly all the time — it just happened to be a pretty day,” Matson said.
The Royal Maces have received accolades for its past videos, but never anything like the viral response of the past four days, squadron commanding officer Cmdr. Spencer Abbot said.
“The videos are a very effective means for us to communicate back with our families and sailors about the end product of all their hard work,” Abbot said.
The 5-minute video is a teaser for a 27-minute show the squadron will unveil at NAF Atsugi’s Spring Festival on May 3, which is open to the public.
The full video will include more low-level flying, carrier operations and footage from the squadron’s work in the Philippines while aiding the recovery efforts following Typhoon Haiyan.
The video was assembled by Lt. David Tarr, with help from other pilots in the squadron who purchased and mounted their own cameras.