Air Force

October 17, 2013

Academy’s soaring program carries long-term benefits

Don Branum
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo.  – Ask most pilots how they feel about landing an aircraft with no engine, and you might get some dirty looks, but cadet instructor pilots in the Air Force Academy’s soaring airmanship program take it in stride.

Experienced cadets make decisions every day about ensuring student pilots’ safety, meeting training requirements and generating sorties, which can number more than 30,000 per year, said Lt. Col. Jack Julson, commander of the 94th Flying Training Squadron, which supports soaring operations here.

“I find it incredible how much the soaring instructor pilots develop over their three years with us not only as teachers but especially as leaders,” Julson said. “They are challenged with making the tough choices about a $160,000 aircraft or whether to solo a student.”

Seniors fill cadet leadership roles within the squadron, which closely mirrors the structure of operational Air Force flying squadrons, Julson said. They lead roughly 140 fellow cadet instructor pilots and more than 100 students supervised and monitored by veteran Air Force aviators.

Instructor pilots’ roles are not only to teach student pilots but also to serve as role models, said Cadet 1st Class Drew Burns, captain of the Academy’s Sailplane Racing Team.

“Our commander’s guidance is to be credible, approachable and humble,” Burns said. “We have to know the rules and be that calm, cool, collected person in the cockpit with them. We’re there to improve their flying ability and hone their decision-making skills.”

The squadron’s operational structure prepares cadets for their Air Force careers, Burns said.

“Having a training officer, a standardization and evaluation officer — these things are incredibly applicable,” Burns said.

Cadets who demonstrate talent in the soaring airmanship program can participate in advanced soaring, which includes the Sailplane Racing Team and the Aerobatics Team, said Cadet 2nd Class Joshua Wilson, who’s on the Aerobatics Team.

“It’s a great bonding experience, to go out and compete,” said Wilson, who will join his teammates this weekend in Dennison, Texas. “We want to exemplify the Air Force core value of Excellence in All We Do: We want to go out there and say, ‘This is what we do, and we’re really darn good at it.’”

The teams’ past performances demonstrate their talent and dedication. The Academy took second and third place in an aerobatic competition here in April; engineer and longtime soaring pilot Dr. Klein Gilhousen took first. Meanwhile, the Sailplane Racing Team has logged more than 21,000 miles so far in 2013, on a pace to eclipse the 30,000-mile record it set in 2012.

“The last two years have been the best in Air Force Academy history for the soaring program,” Burns said. “We’re among the top 12 percent in the world with just 10 cadets and five gliders.”

Wilson said the airmanship experience has been a positive one.

“Participating in the airmanship program is the best thing that you can do as a cadet,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who comes down here to the airfield and regrets it.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
DoD

DoD takes steps to aid absentee voters

WASHINGTON – As the Nov. 4 midterm election nears, Defense Department officials are taking steps to ensure absentee voting is even easier for service members, their families and overseas citizens via FVAP.gov. In coordination with the military services and State Department, Absentee Voting Week begins today, aiming to raise awareness and remind voters of important...
 
 

New EPR challenges status quo

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – The enlisted performance report is going to drastically change. These changes seek to combat inflated ratings, which have been a prevalent complaint from Airmen over the years. The change is right around the corner and many Airmen are asking themselves, “How will it affect future promotions, and what can I do...
 
 

55th Rescue Squadron returns home

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Camilla Elizeu) U.S. Air Force Maj. Stephanie Harley, 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bio Engineering Flight commander, and son welcome home Capt. Colin Harley, 55th Rescue Squadron HH-60 Pavehawk pilot, at Davis-Monthan, Oct. 11. Capt. Harley has just returned from a five-month deployment to Afghanistan.
 

 

AF to implement TDY policy changes

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) — Recently, the Air Force started implementing two temporary duty policy changes that will impact travel reimbursements for Airmen. The first change, which took effect Oct. 1, made changes to the Joint Travel Regulations, Reimbursable and Incidental Expense Policy. The second will be a change in long-term TDY per...
 
 

OPSEC: Everyone’s responsibility

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Everyone who’s been around the military has heard the term Operations Security, or OPSEC, but do they really know what it means? Many people think OPSEC is all about classified information, when the opposite is true; OPSEC targets critical and sensitive unclassified information. OPSEC is a fundamental principle of the Air...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin