Academy airfield increases flying for summer programs

  • Published
On May 28, the Air Force Academy graduated nearly a thousand cadets, who entered the active duty Air Force as Second Lieutenants and leaders of character.  Approximately half of those graduates will be attending pilot training. 

Most took part in the Academy's Airmanship programs, which include glider soaring, powered flight, and parachute operations.  A sizable portion of these programs take place during the summer months.

As in past years, summer programs this year will begin the first week in June and continue through the first week of August. More than 1,000 cadets will participate in the summer flying programs, which are conducted by the 306th Flying Training Group.

Summer flying activities are typically scheduled Monday through Friday, from early morning until sundown.  One change from last year's summer operations will be a temporary 6 a.m. start time for the powered flight program, from the normal 7 a.m.  The Academy lost a portion of summer flying training sorties over the past two summers as a result of elevated seasonal temperatures.  The training schedule modification is required to provide morning and evening latitude to complete flight-training requirements while avoiding cockpit temperatures that may exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoons. We are working towards aircraft cooling modifications that should allow USAFA to return back to normal summer flying hours in the future.  

A noise mitigation plan for flights occurring before 7 a.m. will be in place, requiring aircraft to depart along the I-25 corridor and climb to cruise altitude prior to turning towards the training airspace. This mitigation plan is only permissible until 7 a.m. at which time normal Airmanship flight training procedures will commence. 

"Our summer flight training programs are integral to the overall mission of the Academy, and provide a unique foundation for leadership opportunities and character development," said Col. Steven C. Burgh, commander of the 306th FTG.

"But while we must provide the best training tax dollars can buy, we are always aware of noise and safety concerns of those who live in neighborhoods near the Academy," he continued.  "We sincerely appreciate the continued cooperation and support of our good neighbors in Colorado Springs and surrounding communities." 

Normal flight operating hours will return starting the second week of August when the Academy's next academic year begins.