U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, PUBLIC AFFAIRS, USAF ACADEMY, CO 80840
The Air Force Academy offers a variety of flying
programs under the direction of Air Education and Training Command in
coordination with the Commandant of Cadets. Airmanship programs are a
vital part of each cadet's course of study, providing a series of flying and
parachuting experiences which integrate key aspects of Air Force aviation
heritage and present day-to-day Air Force flying operations with other elements
of the cadet's total education.
Airmanship division programs are embodied in 19 courses which offer basic and advanced instruction in gliders, pilot screening and parachuting. All operations are conducted simultaneously at one of the busiest visual flight rules airports in the country.
Academy airmanship division programs are consistently rated number one in terms of preparing graduates for the Air Force flying and non-flying duties. For officers moving on to non-flying career fields, these programs may be their only direct contact with an operational flying environment. Furthermore, providing cadets an opportunity to experience hands-on flying enhances the effectiveness of academic aeronautical related course work. In addition, the programs serve as an inexpensive tool in screening cadets for future flying, reducing costly attrition from jet pilot training. By developing courage, character and discipline and enhancing aviation knowledge, the airmanship programs form a vital part of the
AIRMANSHIP: Soaring Program
The Academy Soaring Program is designed to allow
cadets to receive their first hands-on experience in a flying
environment. The 94th Flying Training Squadron executes all training
associated with the soaring program, including basic soaring, instructor pilot
upgrade and advanced soaring. The
squadron flies over 30,000 sorties a year, making it the largest and most
active soaring operation in the
Basic soaring training includes instruction in the LET Blanik TG-10B glider. After approximately 10-15 flights, depending on the cadet's level of proficiency, they may be qualified to fly solo. The basic soaring course trains approximately 600 sophomore cadets annually. Additionally, each year approximately 60 cadets are chosen to enter a semester-long instructor pilot upgrade course. Upon graduation from the upgrade course, cadets earn the coveted “G-wings” and become qualified instructor pilots in the TG-10B. For those cadet instructor pilots that excel, advanced soaring courses offer the opportunity to train in the LET Blanik TG-10C (aerobatics) or the LET Blanik TG-10D (cross-country). Advanced soaring cadets routinely compete in regional and national aerobatic and cross-country competitions.
The Academy sailplane fleet consists of twelve TG-10B trainers, five TG-10Cs, four TG-10Ds, two Shempp-Hirth TG-15As, three Shempp-Hirth TG-15Bs and fourteen Ximango TG-14A motorgliders,
Cadet parachuting at the Academy began in 1963 when a
recreational club was formed by interested cadets. The objectives of the
parachute program were threefold: train cadets in basic free-fall
parachuting, represent the Academy at competitions and demonstrations and
provide a leadership laboratory and motivational experience for cadets.
The basic Academy course evolved from the original club into a formal military program and was built on the parachute requirements of aircrew members. The 98th Flying Training Squadron handles all training and flying associated with the parachuting program. This program builds character and leadership traits through parachuting. When cadets step out of an airplane at 4,500 feet above the ground, they must trust their equipment, their training, and more importantly, their own self-discipline to get them safely back to the ground. Academy graduates consistently rate the parachute program as having cultivated character and discipline that were key factors to success in the operational Air Force.
Four parachute programs exist in the cadet airmanship
program--basic, advanced, instructor/jumpmaster training, and
instructor/jumpmaster duty courses--in which more than 20,000 jumps are made
each year. The basic course trains about 700 cadets each year. The
final course gives military training credit to cadets who are instructors for
the other three programs. Cadets play a major role in training and
safety. For example, virtually all cadet jumps are controlled by cadet
jumpmasters. These duties provide practical leadership experience with a
large amount of responsibility. This responsibility includes ground
training, equipment fitting, pre-flight inspection, aircraft loading, all
pre-jump actions to include emergency procedures, and safe and orderly egress
from the aircraft.
Airlift support for cadet parachuting is provided by three UV-18B aircraft. The UV-18B is a DeHavilland DHC-6, known as a Twin Otter. It carries a pilot, copilot and up to 17 jumpers. The aircraft has crew and passenger oxygen systems and a navigation/communication package which gives it an all-weather capability. It has a cruise speed of 150 knots, a service ceiling of 25,000 feet and a range of 700 miles. These Twin Otters are the only three owned by the Air Force.
The USAF Academy Flying Team is a select group of 16 to 18 cadets who hold a Federal Aviation Administration Private Pilot Certificate or higher. The team uses three instrument-equipped 150-horsepower Cessna 150 aircraft to compete against 144 colleges nationwide in regional and national competitions. Cadets fly approximately 75 to 100 hours per year. They compete in nine demanding ground and precision flying events, such as aircraft identification, flight computer accuracy, short field landings and cross-country navigation. During the summer, officer instructor pilots train new team members in the team's aircraft and competition events. Each spring, the team deploys for a week of intensive flying training prior to the National Flying Competition.
AIRMANSHIP: Academy Flight Screening
Academy Flight Screening (AFS) is designed for cadets who will attend Specialized Undergraduate Pilot or Navigator Training after graduation. The goal of the program is to screen students to assess the likelihood of success in follow-on training. Up to 650 students a year receive ground and flight training in a military-style flight training syllabus. Students fly approximately 25 hours in a Diamond DA-20, a single-engine trainer aircraft. They receive instruction in basic flight maneuvers, techniques and procedures, culminating in a local area solo sortie and a final flight evaluation. Safety is a key point of emphasis in the training.
Currently the flight screening mission is conducted by a contractor and is supervised by Air Force personnel.
AIRMANSHIP: Aero Club
The Aero Club uses twelve Cessna 172s and three T-41s allowing the cadets to pursue civilian ratings at a reduced cost. Cadets must pay aircraft rental fees and instructional costs, but are partially reimbursed by Academy services funds.
(Current as of June 2005)