The Class of 2017 of the United States Air Force Academy graduates on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. If you are not able to attend the graduation you can still score front row seats to an amazing air show!
Graduation festivities run throughout the week, then culminate at the end of the graduation ceremony on May 24, 2017, when the Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the stadium at the same time that the graduates throw up their caps. The Thunderbirds then will show off their amazing skills with an air show that lasts approximately 20-30 minutes.
There are lots of great places to watch the Thunderbirds. Last year we sat in the parking lot of the Summit Bowling Alley. We had a perfect view of the stadium from this parking lot. We packed lots of food and the kids played football while we waited. In years past we also have watched the flyover from New Life Church. It seems like anywhere north of Briargate and I25 would offer a great vantage point to watch the Thunderbirds. The closer west you can get the better. I am not sure how far north they fly (someone please comment if you know!) and most businesses allow people to hang out in their parking lots waiting for the flyover.
A few days before the graduation the Thunderbirds will start to practice. As of this writing they have not released their practice schedule yet, but I will update once they do. If you are new to Colorado Springs do not be surprised by the loud flyovers on the days leading up to the graduation!
The graduation ceremony starts at 9:30 am and lasts approximately 3 hours. It is at the end of the ceremony that the flyover occurs. The time depends on how long the commencement speaker takes and how long it takes to get through the list of graduates. There is a lot of traffic so make sure you have plenty of time to get to your destination.
Check the USAFA website for any additional information
Congratulations Class of 2017!