Look, up in the sky! Drone light show to dazzle academy cadets

Cadets and visitors to the Air Force Academy this week will be treated to massive sound and light shows, starring a swarm of 500 choreographed drones.

The academy said in a release that the shows — put on in partnership with the Intel Corporation — are scheduled to be held Wednesday and Friday nights. The drones will take off from the Honor Court near the Terrazzo overlook, the academy said, and conduct the aerial display up to 550 feet above landmarks such as Harmon Hall, the academy’s headquarters building, the Honor Court, and the Cadet Chapel.

Cadets will help the technicians set up and test the drones, and film it with the academy’s own drones. The academy said an airspace buffer will be set up around the drones to make sure spectators are safe.

The demonstrations will be free, and open to all. Cadets, faculty, staff and individuals with authorized access to the academy, plus their guests, can watch the show from the Terrazzo. Base residents and off-base visitors can park and watch the show from in front of the Cadet Field House, the release said. Visitors can access the base through the North Gate by taking exit 156 off of I-25.

Wednesday’s show is scheduled to go from 8:30 to 9 p.m., and Friday’s half-hour show is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., the release said, although times could change due to inclement weather.

Intel made history in 2018 when it flew 1,218 of its Shooting Star drones as part of the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. That performance set a Guinness World Record for the most drones flown simultaneously.

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