Water salute

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Water salute for the first Ryanair flight to Rijeka Airport in 2011
A fireboat gives a water salute to the USS Vandegrift by the Steel Bridge in Portland, Oregon.
G-DOCB, a donated Boeing 737-400, is given a water salute after arriving at Cranfield University for preservation.
Three water salutes were given for the Beijing medical team aiding Hubei, which returned to Beijing on 31 March 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic in Hubei subsided, at Beijing Capital International Airport[1]
A New York City Fire Department fireboat gives a water salute for the 125th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge in 2008.

A water salute occurs for ceremonial purposes when a vehicle travels under plumes of water expelled by one or more fire fighting vehicles.

At an airport, typically an even number of vehicles will line up perpendicularly on the sides of the taxiway or apron, and the plumes of water will form a series of arches. Symbolically, the procession looks similar to a bridal party walking under a wedding arch or the saber arch at a military wedding.[citation needed]

Water salutes have been used to mark the retirement of a senior pilot or air traffic controller, the first or last flight of an airline to an airport, the first or last flight of a type of aircraft, or other notable events. When the Concorde flew its last flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport, blue, white and red coloured plumes were used.[2] United States President Donald Trump received a water salute on his first departure from LaGuardia Airport after winning the presidential election in 2016.[3]

Water salutes are also used for ships and other watercraft, with water being delivered by fireboats. This is often done for the first or last visit or retirement of a senior captain, the first or last cruise of a ship, the visit of a warship, or other ceremonial occasions.

Indian Air Force[edit]

Water salutes are used by the Indian Air Force when inducting new fighter aircraft or on the final flight of an aged aircraft.

On December 27, 2019, India bid farewell to the last IAF MiG-27 squadron after 34 years in service with a water salute. This fighter had earned the nickname "Bahadur" meaning "brave" and had seen action in Kargil and Operation Parakram, among other occasions.

On January 20, 2020 India inducted 6 Su-30 MKI fighters equipped with the BrahMos Cruise missiles in the southern Indian city of Thanjavur. This ancient city is more known for art and culture, but was selected by the IAF due to its strategic location. This occasion saw a water salute.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "国航来赴"春天的约定" 接运北京援鄂医疗队回家". People.cn (in Chinese). 31 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  2. ^ "End of an era for Concorde". 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  3. ^ "Pres-Elect Trump's Plane Gets 'Water Salute' on Way to D.C." Fox News Insider. November 10, 2016. Retrieved 2020-02-13.