Summer Upperclassmen Programs are underway for Period 2 and we have been out and about catching glimpses of your Cadets. This weeks blog is centered around AM-490 and our visit during the first groups ground training. Next week we will have more coverage of all of the Upperclassmen Programs including ESET, RPA, Soaring, Powered Flight and Jump!
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 Air Force 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.
We will do our best to give you a glimpse of each group going through training as well as getting their jumps in throughout the summer!
2nd Period began on Monday and we were able to catch the first Group going through GT earlier in the week!
The second group of 2nd Period will start on Monday next week and we will be out to catch them during their GT while the first group is getting their jumps. For parents of Cadets who started this week - be sure to check back next week for more coverage of your Cadets getting their jumps!
To view the rest of our glimpse into AM-490 go to; Galleries - Airmanship - Jump. Or click the link below.