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Former USAFA exchange student ‘flies over’ Academy


French Flyover

By U.S. Air Force Public Affairs/April 20, 2017

Just after 11:30 a.m. April 19, French air force Maj. Nicolas Lieumont was flying with his Patrouille France team above Colorado Springs and about to enter the Air Force Academy airspace.

The former Academy exchange student said he can’t help but feel nostalgia upon seeing the familiar scenery of Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and the Academy again.

“We are here to (celebrate) this brotherhood between our countries,” Lieumont said. “We don’t fight together because we are told to do so or because we receive orders. We fight together because we believe in the same things and the same values. We want to defend the same way of life; that’s why we are brothers.”

The major, a foreign exchange student at the Academy in 2004, is assigned to the French air force’s aerobatic demonstration team. The team is on a seven-week U.S. tour to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I and reaffirm historic ties between the countries.

Their tour includes 12 demonstration and 30 transit flights, including the flyover here. Before arriving in Colorado Springs, the team met with Air Force Thunderbirds at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and the Navy Blue Angels in Pensacola, Florida.

“For me, it is very special to be back,” he said.