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.


 
 

 

Troops to Teachers helps Airmen serve after separation

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – For many service members who are separating from the military, finding employment that utilizes prior training or skills gained while serving can be difficult. For Airmen who are honorably discharged from their military commitment and have an interest in ‘serving’ again as an educational instructor, the Troops to Teachers program is...
 
 

Travel regulation changes affect PCS moves, travelers

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Big changes are happening with the Joint Travel Regulations, and they could affect your next permanent-change-of-station move or how you are reimbursed for temporary duty assignments. As of July 25, Army uniformed and civilian travelers are directed to use their government travel credit cards for PCS moves, Harvey Johnson, the director of...
 
 

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...
 

 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo taken by Staff Sgt. Gregory Ferreira)

One big (really big) family portrait at the 162nd Wing

What family doesn’t have a portrait? In what was arguably the greatest collection of Arizona military talent assembled in recent memory, 162nd Wing members – nearly 1,300 of them – converged at the Tucson Internat...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Lorenz Crespo)

Pedro 66 survivor defines resiliency

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) — When the combat rescue helicopter Pedro 66 was brought down by enemy fire June 9, 2010, in Afghanistan, retired Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilera thought his life was over, literally. “I ...
 
 

AF releases criteria for new service medal

WASHINGTON (AFNS)  – Air Force officials released nomination criteria for the new Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, following Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James’ May 27, authorization. The medal will be awarded to individuals for their direct support of nuclear deterrence operations. “This service medal provides a clearly visible way to recognize the dedication...
 




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