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.
When we stopped by the airfield this week, the Cadets at Soaring were 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.
Only a certain number of 3 Degrees are selected from the applicant process for the Cadet Instructor Pilot Upgrade program (AM-461) 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.
To view the rest of the pictures from our coverage of the Period 2 Soaring Cadets go to; Galleries - Airmanship - Soaring. Or click the link below.