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Specops pilots host ‘familiarization flights’ for Academy cadets

Cadets 2nd Class George Biery (left) and David Grey get ready to fly aboard a UH-1 H helicopter

Cadets 2nd Class George Biery (left) and David Grey get ready to fly aboard a UH-1 H helicopter at the U.S. Air Force Academy, April 24, 2021. Approximately 50 cadets flew aboard UH-1 N and HH 60-G helicopters during the Air Force Rotary Wing Forum, April 24-25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Seth Stang)

Cadets and a special missions’ aviator (left) fly aboard an HH 60-G helicopter above Colorado Springs

Cadets and a special missions’ aviator (left) fly aboard an HH 60-G helicopter above Colorado Springs during the Air Force Rotary Wing Forum at the U.S. Air Force Academy, April 24, 2021. During the helicopter portion of the Air Force Rotary Wing Forum, approximately 50 cadets had the opportunity to ride along with either the UH-1 N or HH 60-G helicopter airframes and learn what flying in each is like first hand. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Seth Stang)

An HH 60-G helicopter lifts off from the airfield at the U.S. Air Force Academy while a UH-1 N gets ready to follow during

An HH 60-G helicopter lifts off from the airfield at the U.S. Air Force Academy while a UH-1 N gets ready to follow during the Air Force Rotary Wing Forum, April 24, 2021. The two-day forum gave cadets a chance to meet aircrews and experience a flight above Colorado Springs. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Seth Stang)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – --

Cadets got a high-altitude view of the Air Force Academy in a series of helicopter flights above Colorado Springs, April 24.

The flights, hosted by pilots from the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, were part of the Academy’s operations career field forums familiarizing cadets with aircraft and aircrews. 

“It was an incredible opportunity,” Cadet 4th Class Mark Lema said. “It really opened my eyes toward potentially becoming a helicopter pilot.”

Approximately 50 cadets flew in a UH-1 N helicopter, regularly used to support nuclear deterrence missions, or in the HH 60-G helicopter, often used in search and rescue operations.  

After their safety briefings at the Academy’s airfield, the cadets flew aboard a helicopter and were able to listen to the crew’s communications during the flight.

“It is amazing that we had the chance to get on the Huey and fly with it,” Cadet 3rd Class Chia-Hsiang Shen said. “Now I know more about what the UH-1 is capable of and their importance to Air Force Global Strike Command.”