Soaring AM-251 Summer Session 3
The third summer session of Soaring AM-251 has been going on and WebGuy was able to get out to Davis Airfield yesterday to capture some of the students preparing for their flights. It was a beautiful but hot Colorado day and the only shade was under the glider wing!
The 94th Flying Training Squadron conducts more than 20,000 training and competition glider sorties (flights) each year with the focus being on developing officers, leadership and character. There are also Instructors getting flights to keep current or doing upgrades. Most instructors are cadets, but there are also Active duty or Reserve that instruct as well.
During the fourth-class academic year, the cadets will participate in the Introduction to Soaring Program (AM 250), which consists of 4 flights with one of them being an acrobatic flight. This gives the cadets an opportunity to see if aviation is a career they would like to pursue once they graduate from the Academy. During the summer before their third-class year, they can enroll in Basic Soaring (AM 251), which consists of 14 glider sorties with the opportunity for a solo flight (depending on proficiency). Approximately 330 cadets participate in the Basic Soaring Course. Basic Soaring graduates are eligible to apply to become Cadet Soaring Instructor Pilots (AM 461). Cadet Instructor Pilots conduct 95% of all glider flight instruction and go through a yearlong upgrade program during their third-class year to become Instructor Pilots (IPs). This earns them their G-Wings and the title of “Youngest IPs in the Air Force”. Some Cadet IP’s compete nationally in aerobatics and sailplane racing team competitions. The squadron operates 24 sailplanes (gliders) with 7 tow aircraft.
Students are seated in the front of the glider with the instructor directly behind them. Student and Instructor both have a full set of controls which allows for hands on learning and instruction. And it is helpful with the landing. They can land on the center runway or on the synthetic turf landing field which is 430 feet wide and 3,000 feet long and is thought to be the largest single installation of synthetic turf in the world. Bringing the gliders back to the runway is definitely a way for the cadets to get an extra workout!
The Soaring AM-251 program is an intense and long 3 week program during the summer. But it is well worth it to earn the soaring wings after a completed solo flight. WebGuy enjoyed capturing some of the cadets during this summer session completing their solo flight.
Due to an increase in cross wind gusts, the soaring for the day ended early and the gliders were put back into the hangar.
To view photos from the 3rd summer session of soaring, go to GALLERIES > Airmanship > Soaring. Set photo order OLDEST to NEWEST. Select your start page. Or click on the link below.
***Photo order must be set OLDEST to NEWEST for the link below to take you to the correct start page.
Soaring Summer Session 3 pgs. 44 (middle of page) -67 Soaring