This is one of the more challenging programs provided by USAFA, Airmanship 490 or AM-490 is a Basic Freefall Parachuting Program that the Academy offers and it is the core mission of the Wings of Blue and the 98th Training Squadron, all of the Cadets on the Wings of Blue team are certified AM-490 Instructors and Jumpmasters. Its purpose is to develop leadership traits through overcoming their own fears. They will be given instruction in basic free fall parachuting and familiarization with emergency parachuting. The successful completion of 5 Jumps results in award of the Air Force basic parachutist badge "Jump Wings", which they can wear on their uniform for the rest of their Air Force career and completion during summer before sophomore year fills one of the few military training requirements that Cadets at USAFA have. Several hundred Cadets over the course of this summer will have to "STAND IN THE DOOR."
AM-490 is the only program in the entire world where the first jump is an unassisted freefall. Because of this unique difference all students, cadet or staff who go through this program will have roughly 40 hours of ground training before their first jump.
A typical week down at AM-490 for the summer periods involves Ground Training from Monday to Wednesday and then first thing Thursday morning the Cadets are bussed up to Denver to experience a Wind-Tunnel and then brought back down to the Academy to begin jumping. The weather in the summer here at the Academy usually consists of windy afternoons. So we never know what will happen once we get to that first Thursday for Jumps. Thankfully each group that goes through AM-490 has 2 weeks from start to finish to achieve their 5 jumps to earn their wings. Their second week is specifically for the Cadets and Staff going through AM-490 to have multiple jump opportunities until they achieve their 5th and final jump.
3rd Periods, 1st Group completed their jumps this week and the 2nd Group for this period had Ground Training and have begun their Jumps! This week we've posted their Ground Training - check back next week as we catch them going through their Jumps!
To view the rest of our glimpse into this group going through AM-490 go to; Galleries - Airmanship - Jump. Or click the link below.
Hey 2020 WebFamilies! Your Cadets have completed their first year here at the Academy and now get to experience Upperclassmen programs! Over the course of the next three summer periods, your cadets will be able to participate in a couple of different programs. This is Summer Soaring!
Back in December, Cadets had to apply for the Airfield program they were hoping to take during one of the 3 summer periods. I wonder who got Soaring?!
During each of the three periods Cadets will be all over the Academy participating in different summer programs. We get to stop by the following summer programs; ESET, RPA, Jump, Powered Flight and Soaring.
The Basic Soaring program (Airmanship 251) provides a motivational experience for all 3rd class cadets. This program is the largest Glider operation in the world and its mission is to build character, and help motivate cadets as well as form the foundation of cadet exposure to military aviation, which is what many of them will do in their Air Force careers following their 4 years at the Academy. The cadets first experience soaring in the TG-10B or TG-16A which familiarizes them with aircraft controls, the ever-present crew checklists, area/pattern work, and the perspective to earth.
Cadets at Soaring are making their way through their 14 Flights. Once they have completed and passed 10 accompanied flights, they are able to go for their solo flight. Taking summer Soaring will also make them eligible for AM 461, the Cadet Instructor Pilot Upgrade program which they would take their Sophomore year to become a Soaring IP.
Each period there will be 3 groups going through Soaring; A Flight, B Flight and C Flight and we were able to catch all 3 Flight groups this week! First we caught C Fight, then B Flight and finally A Flight. Sadly, with B Flight we caught them in the midst of a wind/cloud hold BUT! We got pictures of as many as we could with the gliders! Both C and A Flights we caught during flying time.
To view the rest of the pictures from our coverage of Flight A, B and C Flight go to; Galleries - Airmanship - Soaring. Or click the link below.