News>Academy to open largest aviation turf surface in world
Air Force Academy cadets fly in a TG-15A glider over Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 23, 2010. Cadets typically fly 10-15 training sorties in the TG-15A and undergo 50-hour cross-country upgrade training before they can fly cross-country solo in the TG-15B. The 94th Flying Training Squadron conducts more than 30,000 sorties per year in support of the Academy Soaring Program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samuel Bendet)
A sailplane towed by a T-41 Mescalero soars above Colorado Springs in the direction of Pikes Peak. The U.S. Air Force Academy's soaring program gives cadets their first hands-on experience with flying aircraft. The 94th Flying Training Squadron conducts the training, flying more than 30,000 sorties per year. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Armer)
The U.S. Air Force Academy’s first TG-16A glider arrived at the Academy July 8.
The new fleet of training and aerobatic gliders is valued at $4.8 million and includes five new aerobatic gliders and 14 basic trainers. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Raymond McCoy)
3/19/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The 306th Flying Training Group will open the largest aviation turf surface in the world in a ceremony at 1 p.m., Tuesday at the Academy Airfield.
The 1.41 million-square-foot sailplane landing area project is designed to increase the lifespan of the Academy's new glider fleet by providing a better landing surface than the natural grass that was there before. Vibration from landing impact and roll are prime causes of material failure in fiberglass and carbon-fiber gliders.
Planning for the project began six years ago and cost $3.8 million and took six months to complete. The projected lifespan of the turf is 25 years.
The Academy airfield averages more than 17,000 sorties and 5,700 hours of combined flight time per year.
NOTE:Media interested in covering this event should contact Public Affairs at (719) 333-7593 or (719) 333-7608 for access.
3/23/2012 6:23:19 PM ET In the early 70's we had to have yucca pluckersto keep the field landable. Once landed a 2-33across the strip in high west wind with a roll outof about 20 feet.
Bill Drury, TN
3/22/2012 9:02:33 PM ET Back when I was a cadet....we didn't have a fancy 3.8M turf surface to caress our feet as we dragged sailplanes around. We have good ole natural gopher hole riddled grassweeds to bounce our planes on.Then again we didn't have cell phones or laptops either.