A Go AM-490 Ground Training
Yesterday and today we stopped by the Airfield and caught the Cadets going through AM-490 Ground Training, as well as a glimpse of the new Wings of Green members beginning their training!
I'm sure if you've read our blogs over the summer about what AM-490 is, but in case you haven't here's some background on the program.
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. Throughout the academic year about 400 Cadets will "STAND IN THE DOOR" and complete this unique course.
AM-490 is the only program in the entire world where the first jump is an unassisted freefall, how amazing is that? 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.
We also happened to catch a glimpse of the brand new Wings of Green Cadets. The Cadets chosen to be the newest group of Wings of Green completed AM-490 over the summer and proved themselves during their interviews. Congratulations to all of the Cadets who made the team! Throughout the Fall and Spring Semester the Wings of Green Cadets will be learning and being trained in everything they need to know in order to not only become the next Wings of Blue members but also to be able to be ready teach the next set of summer AM-490 Cadets! We wish them luck and can't wait to continue to catch glimpes of them throughout the academic year as they progress through their training.
The Academic year is much different in pace than the summer program months, during the summer Cadets will move through this program from beginning to end within one to one and a half weeks. During the Academic year they can take a bit more time and will go through this program in just under a months' time. The first half of the program is all ground training, most of it takes place here at the Academy but the last stage is the vertical wind tunnel which they get to experience up in Denver. When they have successfully completed ground training, the aerial portion of AM-490 begins. Each jump is videotaped and reviewed by the Wings of Blue members, after they are reviewed the Cadets will earn a grade on each jump and will be given retraining if needed.
Once a student has completed their 5 jumps and has received their jump wings, for the rest of their AF Careers they will have those wings on their uniform.
Cadets are currently in the Ground Training portion of the AM-490 class, we were able to stop by and catch both the M and T day groups going yesterday and today and will catch them again as they get their jumps in the coming weeks. Hopefully the weather is on our side!
To view the rest of the pictures taken this week go to Galleries - Airmanship - Jump. Viewing the gallery from Oldest to Newest, pictures start on page 223. Or you can click the link below.