Sailplane aerobatic, racing teams wrap up historic 2012 season

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Veronica Ward
  • Air Force Academy Public Affairs
The 94th Flying Training Squadron's sailplane aerobatic and racing teams finished a record-breaking 2012 with numerous triumphs at regional and national competitions.

The aerobatic team ended 2012 as the best in Academy history, taking home the second-place International Aerobatic Club's Eagle Collegiate National Championship Award with the highest score in the team's 27 years, including 80 medals and 28 trophies in its first season competing in the new TG-16A glider.

"We can't tell enough people about the awesome airmanship and leadership skills we see daily on our flight line," said 94th Flying Training Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Brad Roller. "It is very rewarding to see these young officer candidates develop into the future leaders who will serve our Air Force and our nation."

The aerobatic team also swept first, second and third places, winning nine trophies in three categories at the U.S. Aerobatic Nationals and has done so for the last 10 years.

Cadet 2nd Class James Gregory was recognized as the first Academy pilot in the squadron's history to take a second-place individual IAC collegiate trophy. Gregory's competition included pilots of motorized aircraft.

The Aerobatic team, composed of cadets, set up aerial demonstrations and aircraft displays at air shows in Colorado and Florida with combined attendance of more than 1.6 million people.

In addition, for the first time in the team's 43-year history, all six sailplane racing team seniors earned Federation Aeronautique Internationale International Gold badges, capping a season in which the team earned its 14th Collegiate Soaring Association title in 18 years, placing it in the top 12 percent among the world's 1,400 sailplane clubs.

"We pride ourselves on the fact that it's the cadets making the life-or-death decisions on when or if to send a student solo," Roller said. "The instructor pilots are organized just like the operational Air Force, and they really get the meaning of leadership firsthand by running the program."

"The cadet glider aerobatic team has travelled the country practicing and competing to demonstrate the abilities of some of our most skilled cadet soaring instructor pilots," Roller said. "These tremendous young officer candidates have a keen sense for detailed precision flying. In fact, our cadets fly some maneuvers that even most sophisticated aircraft in the inventory don't perform."

The 94th FTS, part of the 12th Flying Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, supports and oversees the Air Force Academy's soaring airmanship program.