Airfield Open House
Parents Weekend has many activites happening on Friday. WebGuy was able to get out to Davis Airfield where an open house was being held. Parents, families, and friends could go out to the Mid-Field hangars and see the Soaring Gliders, the Cirrus T-53 from Powered Flight, and meet members of the Wings Of Blue jump demonstration team.
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.
The 557th Flying Training Squadron provides exposure to an operational Air Force flying squadron through the Powered Flight Program and gives the opportunity to possibly solo a light, general aviation aircraft.
Powered Flight is a capstone course that serves as a culmination of a cadet’s aviation education. Lessons in Air Force heritage and principles of engineering are applied in real-life scenarios during nine flights in a single engine propeller driven aircraft. The training includes ground and flight instruction using T-53s (Cirrus SR20), military instructors provide a basic introduction to Air Force pilot training and the experience of powered flight. The training includes ground and flight instruction under an Air Education and Training Command (AETC) flying syllabus.
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 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.
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.
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Davis Airfield Open House Parents Weekend pgs. 85 (bottom of page)-88. Airfield Open House