We're Back At Soaring

The Basic Soaring program otherwise known as Airmanship 251 or AM 251, is a USAFA Airmanship program that roughly 550 Cadets will complete each school year and is the one of the largest glider operations in the world. The USAFA mission for AM 251 is, "to form the foundation of cadet exposure to military aviation, build character, and help motivate cadets toward a career in the United States Air Force."

These cadets learn to fly the TG-16A (DG-1001 Club), which will get them accustomed with the workings of aircraft controls, learning aircrew checklists, and getting familiar with area/pattern work. Cadets receive a total of 4 assisted flights 

"The 94th Flying Training Squadron flies over 7,000 Airmanship 251 sorties annually during both the summer and academic year. Airmanship 251 offers an opportunity for solo flight based on student performance."

Most of the Cadets we will catch during the academic year with our coverage of Soaring are the 4 Degrees, as they fly during the morning and into the afternoon, but more than likely with our afternoon coverage you will see more of a range of all 4 Classes. The reason being is that while the 4 Degrees are going through AM 251, the upperclassmen (mostly 3 Degrees) are going through Airmanship 461 or AM 461. 

AM 461 is a Cadet Instructor Pilot Upgrade program, which will run all semester long. Only a certain number of 3 Degrees are selected from the applicant process and those who are selected will be the next generation of Soaring IPs (Instructor Pilots). While the 4 Degrees in AM 251 only have to take 4 Flights, the 3 Degrees in AM 461 must complete a total of 80 or more flights, not to mention ground and flight evaluations. The Cadets who complete this program and get their wings are the Air Force's yougest instructor pilots. Once AM 451 is completed the Cadet IPs can take one of two programs. AM 472 where they would then become instructors for the AM 251 program. Or AM 473, where their main job would be to train the next group of cadet instructor pilots.

The groups are split up by either M or T day, and then each day is split up by 3 groups; Fly 1 7-9am, Fly 2 10am-12pm and lastly Fly 3 12-2pm. As it was in the summer time, our coverage is always dependant on the weather. We always hope that the weather will be good to us so that we might get the best coverage we possibly can. Sometimes because of wind holds, or bad weather we may or may not catch all of the Cadets by an aircraft when we stop by but we will catch just about everyone doing something.

Since we only caught half of the groups last week, be sure to check back with us in the next week or so for coverage of the other half!


To see the rest of the pictures from our coverage of Soaring last week, go to Galleries - Airmanship - Soaring. Or click the link below.