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 went through Ground Training earlier last week, and this week has been working through the weather to complete their 5 Jumps! The weather has been very touch and go over the last couple of days with jumps mainly happening in the mornings but then dealing with wind holds or rain in the afternoon. We wish the Cadets going through Jump the best of luck getting to their 5th Jump!
We also caught the 2nd Group going through AM-490 during some of their ground training.
We will be back catching the 2nd Group going through their jumps over the next week so be sure to check back in soon for our coverage of the 2nd Group!
To view the rest of our glimpse into the 1st Groups Jumps and 2nd Groups Ground Training go to; Galleries - Airmanship - Jump. Or click the link below.