COLORADO SPRINGS — The U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) Class of 2022 Graduation is May 25 at Falcon Stadium, and this year an Olympic Gold Medalist from Team USA will fly with the Thunderbirds.
USAFA has invited 2022 Olympic speed-skating gold-medalist Erin Jackson to fly with the Thunderbirds on their mid-morning flight over Colorado Springs. Jackson is a native of Ocala, Florida and is the first black woman in history to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the sport of speed-skating. Following her flight, Jackson will visit with Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark and congratulate Cadets from the Class of 2022 at the Academy on becoming new officers in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.
The Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team is scheduled to conclude the Class of 2022 graduation ceremony with a 30-minute performance over Falcon Stadium. The performance is planned from 12:30 p.m. through 1 p.m., just after the hat toss.
On Tuesday, May 24, the Thunderbirds are scheduled to fly a practice mission over of the Academy’s Falcon Stadium. As mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, extensive road closures and traffic detours are planned on the Academy under the performance area Tuesday, May 23 and Wednesday, May 25.
Closures include the Santa Fe Trail and roads under the show area, 11:30 a.m. through 4p.m. Tuesday, May 24, and 10 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25. Closures include:
• Stadium Boulevard – from Pine Drive to North Gate Blvd
• Community Center Drive – from Stadium Blvd. to E. Douglass Drive
• Academy Drive – from Stadium Blvd. to Lot 6
• The Santa Fe Trail from Tri-intersection Bridge to Parade Loop
For public safety, drivers are reminded not to stop along I-25 or any roads on the Academy to watch any of the Thunderbird performances.