Thunderbirds release practice, performance schedule for 2021 USAFA graduation


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Air Force Thunderbirds are back in Colorado Springs this week to celebrate the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2021.

The aerial demonstration team will conduct its traditional flyover at the end of the graduation ceremony, followed by a 30-minute performance above Falcon Stadium.

The Thunderbirds arrived in Colorado Springs Monday and flew over the Academy for a site survey. They practiced their full performance over Falcon Stadium on Tuesday.

The Class of 2021 graduation ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Thunderbirds will perform immediately after the hat toss. The performance is expected to begin between 12:30 and 1 p.m., but the start time may vary depending on the length of the ceremony.

The Santa Fe Trail and on-base roads under the show area will be closed during the practice and performance.

The Air Force Academy is currently closed to non-DoD ID card holders, and will not be accessible for viewing the practice or performance. The public is also reminded to avoid stopping along the interstate to watch the performances.

Cadets toss their hats in the air after being sworn in as officers as the Thunderbirds fly over during the graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 at the U.S. Air Force Academy Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Air Force Academy, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Last year’s graduation ceremony, held in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, featured a flyover but no airshow. Instead, the team flew over Colorado hospitals to honor healthcare workers and first responders.

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