A flight of F-16 fighter jets will roar over Colorado Springs on Saturday as the Air Force Academy shows off its air dominance before taking on Army on the football field.
The mach-2 capable jets will dive in for a low pass over Falcon Stadium for the game’s 1:30 p.m. kickoff and will likely be seen over Colorado Springs ahead of the game as they practice for their big moment.
Getting a flight of Falcons is appropriate for the Falcon football team, which is 6-2 on the year and could get a ticket toward the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy, given to the best football team among the top service academies.
The F-16 has been used heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan and is known as the service’s top dogfighter and also is adept at bombing ground targets.
There’s some kind of flyover for most Air Force football games, with everything from transports to bombers filling the sky over the Pikes Peak region.
While it may seem like an expensive way to root for the team, the crews and planes are assigned to overfly the game as part of training missions where they learn skills that can be useful in combat overseas.
There’s a long rivalry between Army and Air Force, which goes back to the aerial service’s origins.
Air Force is the little brother in the relationship, starting as part of the Army until the services divorced in 1947.
The game has elements that are even bigger than the rivalry. This week, top Pentagon leaders, including every four-star general in the Air Force, have been at the academy for a conference.
And right before kickoff, Barbara Barrett will be sworn in as the new Air Force secretary. The former U.S. ambassador to Finland is a pilot and had a long career with a string of aerospace firms.